It’s safe to say when we planned to go via Falkirk on our way to Edinburgh, with our travel packs and day bags in tow, we didn’t plan for it to be quite so rainy! These things happen though when travelling and is probably all par for the course in Scotland. So in the spirit of Robert Burns, we ploughed on despite our best laid schemes going slightly awry. We couldn’t just miss out Falkirk when visiting central Scotland. Not with the Wheel and Kelpies to be checked out!
A train, walk and bus later we arrived at the Falkirk Wheel. Engineering masterpiece. Architectural powerhouse. There are many ways to describe this ingenious structure. I’ll just stick to revolutionary. 🥁
Getting ready to disembark
Connecting the Forth and Clyde Canal with the Union Canal, the Falkirk Wheel takes boats in, displaces water, rotates 180 degrees – all the while counterbalancing the boat platforms – and allows continued access between Glasgow and Edinburgh. Not too shabby. You can experience the whole thing yourself for up to £13 on a boat tour. Lasting almost an hour you ride the wheel before going up a short stretch of the Union Canal and then back again and down to the visitor centre.
Rainy view going up the canal
This might not sound exciting. But honestly the thing is such a marvel it is hard not to be amazed. Your captain and tour guide is informative and funny. The views across central Scotland are expansive. Even just experiencing half an hour of peaceful canal life is great. Worth every penny. Even in the rain.
Lifting a boat, as you do
A mug of coffee and two buses later we found ourselves finally at Helix Park and the Kelpies. With sunshine! The story of our Scotland trip so far; torrential rain forecast all day and we end up with just getting caught in it for half an hour. Result.
Canal views on the way out
The whole of Helix Park is a great walk around. We wandered through marshland and even saw our first spear thistle of the trip, scientific name, the national flower of Scotland. Often going to see famous statues or sculptures feels like a 5 minute affair. Turn up. Snap a photo. Maybe have a picnic if you have one, but otherwise it’s pretty much the same view and it’s time to move on. Nice to see Falkirk doing things the right way.
Anyway. The main event. The Kelpies. Beautiful. The tallest statues in the UK, they rise majestically out of the water, looking down at the puny humans who have came to pay them homage. At 30m high they certainly loom over. And if you remember that kelpies are the embodiment of Scottish shape shifting water spirits that are waiting to lure unsuspecting victims to their watery graves, the whole experience takes on another, darker edge!
All kitted out with our rain gear and the sun only goes and comes out!
Another bus back into central Falkirk, a bite to eat and then a train to Edinburgh. We successfully completed our transit day with sightseeing along the way. No need to leave Edinburgh to head to Falkirk. Great teamwork and something I could thoroughly recommend to anyone visiting central Scotland on public transport.
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