Revolutionary activity providers wanted at The Falkirk Wheel

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.


“Each year, hundreds of thousands of people travel from all over the world to visit The Falkirk Wheel and we’re always looking to develop new experiences in order to encourage them to return.

“From zip lines running from the top of the Wheel to climbing walls set in its shadow, we’re open to all ideas. I’d encourage any businesses who think they could offer something revolutionary for our visitors to experience to get in touch.”

Katie Hughes, Director of Estates and Commerce at Scottish Canals

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

Notes to Editors

  • Scottish Canals is responsible to the Scottish Government for the management and development of five Scottish canals as well as the surrounding estate and The Falkirk Wheel. See or follow @ScottishCanals for more information
  • 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
  • Today Scottish Canals is utilising these 18th century assets along with innovative technology to tackle modern problems. Through working with partners to create pioneering systems, Scottish Canals is helping to combat flooding and driving positive transformation in some of Scotland’s most disadvantaged areas
  • The Forth & Clyde, Union, Monkland, Caledonian and Crinan canals are recognised as Scheduled Monuments and attract 22million visits per year. See for more information

For further information, please contact:

Nicola Sturgeon at Scottish Canals on 07767 383 557 or email

Chris McDonald at Scottish Canals, on 07917 217 608 or email

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