Visitors to The Falkirk Wheel could soon be scaling, golfing and zip-lining around the world’s only rotating boat lift as custodians Scottish Canals seek to bring new activity operators to the attraction.
While visitors to the Wheel can already sail through the sky on a boat trip; walk on water in inflatable zorbs; don their warpaint for laser tag; and put their piloting skills to the test in floating dodgems, Scottish Canals is seeking to partner up with innovative activity providers to offer an array of new activities for the 500,000 people that pay a visit to the Wheel every year to experience.
From zip lines and climbing walls to disc golf, a number of activities have already been suggested but operators are encouraged to submit their own ideas. Interested businesses are being urged to contact Scottish Canals for more information, with all formal submissions to be made through the Scottish Government’s procurement portal. It’s hoped the new activities will be in place by summer 2018.
The working sculpture, which links the Forth & Clyde Canal to the Union Canal 35m (115ft) 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 tourism 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.
Opened as part of The Millennium Link, a £78 million project that restored Scotland’s inland waterways to a navigable state for the first time since the 1960s, the Wheel replaced a flight of 11 locks that once stepped the Union Canal down to the level of the Forth & Clyde over a distance of 1.5 kilometres and took more than a day to traverse. The Falkirk Wheel allows vessels to transit between the two waterways in just a few minutes.
Businesses interested in the commercial opportunity at The Falkirk Wheel should submit their proposal via www.publiccontractsscotland.co.uk.