Voyaging through the Falkirk Wheel

  1. There’s no extra charge for Scottish Canals licence holders to take their craft through The Falkirk Wheel.
  2. You should call the Basin Controller on 01324 676912 up to 24 hours in advance to book your time. Giving us notice will speed your transit.
  3. Skippers approaching from the Union Canal should call 01324 676912 to re-confirm when exiting the Falkirk Tunnel. Also indicate whether you’ll be continuing east or west along the Forth & Clyde Canal, so we can prepare Locks 1 and 2.
  4. Skippers approaching from the Forth & Clyde Canal should call 01324 676912 to re-confirm when leaving Lock 16 (westbound) or Bonnybridge (eastbound).
  5. Pre-booked transits of The Falkirk Wheel are available. Please check opening times as these vary throughout the year.

Paddlers must contact the Basin Controller for advice and instructions on transit through The Falkirk Wheel or Roughcastle Tunnel.

Maximum channel dimensions

Golden Jubilee lock (Lock 3: Forth & Clyde Canal into Basin) 

Length: 21.3m (70ft)

Width: 3.83m (12ft 6in)

Channel depth: 1.5m (5ft)

Headroom: 2.74m (9ft)

Water levels fluctuate, so allow adequate draught tolerance.

Union Canal and the Falkirk Wheel

Length: 21.3m (70ft)

Width: 3.5m (11ft 6in)

Channel depth: 1.06m (3ft 6in)

Wheel and Roughcastle Tunnel depth: 1.5m (5ft)

Water levels fluctuate, so allow adequate draught tolerance.

Operations and safety

All gangways and moveable items must be secured.

For your own safety, you must follow the instructions given by Scottish Canals staff, who use a combination of CCTV, traffic lights, radio and PA systems to manage the site. 

The locks and swing bridge are normally operated by Scottish Canals staff. These will be locked when unattended. 

Once you’ve been guided into the Gondolas, you must not leave your vessel during the 15-minute rotation.

Assistance may be available from our staff.

Points to note

  • Each Gondola is controlled by an operator. Please follow their instructions. 
  • The operator will select whichever vessels make optimum use of Gondola capacity. 
  • Have your stern and bow lines ready to control your vessel in the Gondola.
  • Don’t allow anyone near the bow or stern when these are adjacent to the north end of the Gondola.
  • Don’t leave your vessel unless directed to do so or in an emergency.
Map of how to approach the Falkirk Wheel