Cross-Atlantic ‘Battle of the Boat Lifts’ planned at The Falkirk Wheel

The world’s only rotating boat lift is embarking upon a cross-Atlantic challenge to see how many canoes and kayaks it can hold at one time as part of a revolutionary festival on May 13th.

The Falkirk Wheel has been challenged by Parks Canada to take part in Lock & Paddle – an annual event where the Canadian organisation tries to break the record for the number of paddlers that can fit in the Peterborough Lift Lock in Ontario. The current record stands at 328. The Falkirk Wheel’s attempt – the first time a boat lift outside Canada has taken part – will form the centrepiece of the Scottish attraction’s Revolution Festival to mark its 16th birthday.

Featuring an array of unique events, performances, and try-out sessions, the festival on May 13th will offer fun for all the family. Visitors will be dazzled by the acrobatic antics of Circus Acts Scotland; walk on water in the Wheel’s zorbs; explore the history of the Union Canal by boot or boat; set off on a Segway safari; take a turn on the Wheel; dance the day away with live entertainment; or take a peek at the paddlers taking part in Lock & Paddle. The event will run from 11am to 5:00pm.

For those looking to refuel during the festivities, there’ll be stone-baked pizza, artisan ice cream (including a specially-created “revolutionary” flavour) from Falkirk-based parlour The Milk Barn, and an array of sweet and savoury treats on offer in the Wheel’s café.

“We’re always up for a challenge here at The Falkirk Wheel and we’re honoured to be the first boat lift outside Canada to take part in Lock N Paddle.

“As well as the battle of the boat lifts, we’ve got some great activities planned on the water, the banks and beyond for the Revolution Festival. I’d encourage everyone to come along and experience everything the world’s only rotating boat lift has to offer.”

Mark Smith, Head of Destinations and Tourism at Scottish Canals

Held at the Peterborough Lift Lock in Ontario for the past three years, Lock & Paddle is organized by the Peterborough Lift Lock National Historic Site of Canada in partnership with The Canadian Canoe Museum and The Land Canadian Adventures. A designated historic site of Canada, the Peterborough Lift Lock carries vessels on the Trent-Severn Waterway over a height difference of 19.8 metres. When completed in 1904, it was the highest hydraulic lift lock ever built.

Jewel Cunningham, Director of Ontario Waterways for Parks Canada, said: “We are so pleased to welcome The Falkirk Wheel to the Lock & Paddle family. The challenge is a big one, but we have no doubt that they will represent Scotland with style.”

The Falkirk Wheel, a working sculpture which links the Forth & Clyde Canal to the Union Canal 35 metres above, has welcomed more than 6.5 million visitors – more than the populations of Northern Ireland and Wales combined – since its opening by Her Majesty The Queen in 2002.

One of Scotland’s busiest tourist attractions, The Falkirk Wheel attracts visitors from all over the world keen to marvel at the working sculpture which combines modern engineering and technology with ancient principles set out by Archimedes more than 2000 years ago.

When one of the structure’s gondolas is lowered, the opposite one rises, keeping the vast, 1800 tonne boat lift in perfect balance as it carries canal barges 35 metres into the air in a matter of minutes. Each gondola holds 500,000 litres of water – enough to fill an Olympic swimming pool. Incredibly, because of the design and application of balance and weight, it takes just 1.5kWh – the same power as it would take to boil eight domestic kettles – for each rotation.

Further details of the Revolution Festival and Lock & Paddle can be found on the Scottish Canals website and on The Falkirk Wheel’s Facebook page.

Notes to Editors

About Scottish Canals

Scottish Canals is responsible to the Scottish Government for the management and development of the Union, Monkland, Forth & Clyde, Crinan and Caledonian Canals. As well as the waterways themselves, Scottish Canals care for bridges, buildings, locks, The Falkirk Wheel, The Kelpies and water supply reservoirs in locations across Scotland. The reservoirs cover an area equivalent to 7,494 football pitches and supply the canals with the 332 million litres of water which flow through them each day

The Forth & Clyde, Union and Monkland canals in the Lowlands, the Crinan Canal in Argyll and the Caledonian Canal in the Highlands together extend over 137 miles from coast to coast, across country and into the cities of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness.

Built two hundred years ago to fire the Industrial Revolution, today the canals contribute to the Scottish Government agenda of developing a Greener; Healthier; Smarter; Safer and Stronger; and Wealthier and Fairer Scotland by acting as a catalyst for sustainable economic development, regeneration and tourism; contributing to education, biodiversity, heritage and promoting active living and healthier lifestyles. The Forth & Clyde, Union, Monkland, Caledonian and Crinan canals are recognised as Scheduled Monuments and attract 22million visits per year

For more information, visit or follow @ScottishCanals on Twitter.

For further information, please contact:

Chris McDonald at Scottish Canals on 07917217608 or email

Nicola Sturgeon at Scottish Canals on 07767383557 or email

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