World’s only rotating boat lift gets a Willy Wonka style makeover

The world’s only rotating boat lift has received a Willy Wonka style makeover as Scottish Canals prepare to enter The Falkirk Wheel into Cake Fest Scotland as part of ongoing celebrations for the 2016 Year of Innovation Architecture and Design.

The 35-metre-tall engineering marvel has been recreated by Scottish Canals and local chocolatier Michael Maley in a scale chocolate model which sits 22 truffles high and carries chocolate renditions of The Falkirk Wheel’s recently refurbished trip boats Antonine and Archimedes.

The model even features a chocolate nod to the Kelpies maquettes which are stabled at The Falkirk Wheel.

Whilst the trip boats and The Wheel itself are made out of over 10kg of Maley’s delicious dark and white chocolate The Wheel’s basin and surroundings have been lovingly constructed from 8kg of fruit, 14kg of sugar and flour and 40 eggs all hand mixed by one of The Falkirk Wheel’s very own Boat Crew, Lauren Hendrie.

Topping the 1m x 50cm fruitcake is 1kg of marzipan and 1500g of icing fondant which has been used to recreate the some of The Wheel’s attractions including the newly added bumper boats, WaterWalkerz, electric boats and ice cream hut.

The structure also incorporates the ‘Flavour of Falkirk’ with 60 handmade ‘Falkirk Fancies’. The sweet treats feature IRN-BRU flavour milk chocolate with a whisky flavour ganache and highland toffee and whisky caramel centre – all flavours synonymous with the Falkirk area.

The ‘Falkirk Fancy’ was thought-up by local resident Louisa Liddell who entered Scottish Canals’ #flavouroffalkirk competition for a chance to create her own chocolate under the guidance of Michael, who also hand crafted the 22 different chocolate components to make up The Wheel and trip boats.

Visitors to The Falkirk Wheel on Friday (9th September) will get a chance to see this one of a kind celebration of The Falkirk Wheel before it makes the journey to Cake Fest (Sunday 11th September).

Steve Dunlop, Chief Executive of Scottish Canals, said: “We’re delighted to get involved with the Festival of Architecture Cake Fest as part of the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design.

“The Falkirk Wheel is an engineering marvel; it’s iconic, recognisable around the world and it seemed fitting that it would feature on any map – even one comprised of cake!

“Throughout the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design, we’ve invited people from all over the world to capture their #CanalMagic and help us celebrate everything that makes the nation’s canal network special.

“From selfies at Neptune’s Mirror, to breathtaking shots capturing the beauty of the Crinan Canal and videos of athletes competing in the world’s only uphill swimming competition – Red Bull Neptunes Steps – we’ve created a gallery which showcases the many magical experiences to be found on Scotland’s canals.”      

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 251 bridges, 212 buildings, 256 locks, The Falkirk Wheel, The Kelpies and 19 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, Scotland’s canals are now recognised as Scheduled Monuments and attract 22million visits per year.

For more information, visit or follow @ScottishCanals on Twitter

2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design

  • 2016 will shine a spotlight on Scotland’s achievements in innovation, architecture and design through a wide-ranging, variety of new and existing activity.
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design started on 1 January 2016 and will end on 31 December 2016. It will build on the momentum generated by the 2015 Year of Food and Drink as well as previous years including Homecoming Scotland 2014, the Year of Creative and the Year of Natural.
  • Through a series of exciting events and activity, the year will showcase Scotland’s position as an “innovation nation”, its outstanding built heritage, and its thriving, internationally acclaimed creative industries sector.
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland, and supported by a variety of partners including Creative Scotland, Architecture + Design Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise, The National Trust for
  • Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS).
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design is supported by £570,000 of Scottish Government funding.
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design events fund is managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.

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