Revolutionary party planned for Falkirk Wheel’s 15th birthday

Scottish Canals is inviting the public to celebrate the 15th birthday of the world’s only rotating boat lift with a special party at The Falkirk Wheel.

Scottish Canals is inviting the public to celebrate the 15th birthday of the world’s only rotating boat lift with a special party at The Falkirk Wheel.

Featuring an array of unique events, performances, and copious amounts of cake, the party on May 27th will offer fun for all the family. Visitors can go roamin’ with a Roman as the Antonine Guard’s legionnaires make an appearance on site; enjoy a performance from masters of theatrical mayhem Mischief La Bas; walk on water in the Wheel’s zorbs; set off on a Segway safari; take a turn on the Wheel; see a steamboat flotilla puff around the canal basin; dance the day away at the Central FM roadshow and much more. The event will run from 10am to 5:30pm.

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

“The Falkirk Wheel is an iconic symbol of the renaissance of Scotland’s canals and we’re immensely proud to be celebrating its 15th birthday.

“The chance to see this iconic feat of engineering in action is still drawing huge numbers of visitors, boosting the economy of the area and helping put Falkirk on tourists’ ‘to-see’ lists the world over.

“To mark 15 revolutionary years, we’ve got some great activities planned on the water, the banks and beyond; I’d encourage everyone to come along and help us celebrate the Wheel’s birthday in style.”

Katie Hughes, Director of Estates at Scottish Can

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 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.

So iconic is its design, the International Federation of Consulting Engineers’ (FIDIC) – an organisation representing consulting engineers in more than 80 countries – judged the Wheel, alongside the likes of the Hoover Dam and The Channel Tunnel, as one of the most significant civil engineering projects of the last hundred years.

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.

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 www.scottishcanals.co.uk or follow @ScottishCanals on Twitter

For further information, please contact:

Chris McDonald at Scottish Canals on 07917217608 or email Chris.McDonald@scottishcanals.co.uk

Nicola Sturgeon at Scottish Canals on 07767383557 or email Nicola.Sturgeon@scottishcanals.co.uk

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