Miles walked: today 23.7 cumulative 1031.2
Most of today was a long, monotonous trudge along the Union and later the Forth and Clyde canals. I made some comments about walking along the Union canal yesterday and the same apples to the Forth and Clyde canal, except, at the end if the walk there were good views to the Campsie fells. There were four exceptions which are worthy of mention:
I was staying in west Linlithgow so I left the town by following the river Avon, like yesterday morning a nice woodland walk, up to the Avon viaduct. This is the second longest in the UK and the longest in Scotland
The machine passing along the viaduct is, I think, a dredging device to clear debris from the canal. I could just see the towers of Linlithgow Palace from the top of the viaduct.
The second point of interest came 8 miles later when I walked through the Falkirk tunnel. This is a 630 metre long tunnel built because the then owner of Callander House thought that the canal “would be an eyesore.” It is lit with coloured lights giving it a psychadelic feel and it reminded me of a tunnel Tim and I skied down in La Plagne. Stalactites hang down from the roof in places.
Two miles later the Union and Forth and Clyde canals meet at the Falkirk Wheel. This magnificent piece of engineering was built to replace locks joining the two canals and claims to be the only rotary boat lift in the world.
The design relies on Archimedes Principle (you know, the Greek guy that jumped out of the bath shouting “the water’s too hot.”) There are two chambers that are water-filled and joined by a cam, you can see the bottom one open and the top one closed in the above picture.
A narrow boat sails in and displaces its weight in water out of the chamber. This is then closed with a watertight seal. The two chambers therefore still have the same weight.
The cam rotates lifting the chamber and boat
You can see the seal in front of the boat. When the chamber is in place the sealing panel is lowered
And the boat sails away. It is so well balanced that it is claimed the energy used is equivalent to boiling 8 kettles of water.
The fourth thing of interest was the Roman fort at Rough Castle , admittedly all that is left are mounds of earth, and part of the Antonine wall
Antonio’s became emperor in 138, succeeding Hadrian and decided to re-invade Scotland. The Antonine wall was built about 142. Unlike Hadrian’s Wall, stone was not used and the defence was an earthwork and ditch, reinforced with forts at intervals. However within 20 years the Romans withdrew to the line of Hadrian’s wall.
On the way up to the Wall I saw a small group out for a walk. “Where are you going?” One asked. “To Kilsyth, today” I said. “ That’s a big pack, are you walking to John O’Groats?” I admitted I was and one of the group took my photo, fame at last. Excitement over, I returned to the canal and my trudge to Kilsyth.