A Day Trip in Scotland: Falkirk Wheel and the Kelpies

  Monday, October 3, 2016 / Mark S / Exploration  

**Thanks to our Admin, Mark, for letting us know how the boys play while Stephanie is away!** Stephanie had an early morning flight back to the USA that required getting up at O'dark-hundred, better known as 4 a.m., in order to drive to the Glasgow airport and arrive with plenty of time. Fortified with coffee but no breakfast, we got underway at 4:30 a.m., heading down the A82 through Fort William and beyond. It's dark at that hour, and not only that, everybody drives on the wrong side of the road AND the driver's seat is on the wrong side of the car. I rode shotgun, assumed navigation duties, and watched that we "stayed left" while Bruce drove the 100 miles to Glasgow airport. After about 90 minutes, we finally had enough daylight to appreciate the scenery we were passing through. We had some light rush-hour traffic but made it to the airport drop-off point without a hitch. Wishing Stephanie safe travels, we headed for our next destination, the Falkirk Wheel, but first the idea was to bypass the Glasgow area as best as possible and pick a spot for breakfast. Thanks to some help from Google Maps, we found a spot in a suburb east of Glasgow that provided coffee and hearty breakfasts. We got to the Falkirk Wheel a few minutes before it opened, even with a couple of navigation errors on my part. The wheel is an impressive, dynamic piece of engineering, connecting two canals together. Both the Wikipedia page and the wheel's website are well worth perusing for the details on how it works. [caption id="attachment_3441" align="alignnone" width="700"] The wheel is in operation here.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_3440" align="alignnone" width="700"] Above the wheel. To the far left there is a tunnel, leading to locks on the connecting canal.[/caption] A boat trip is offered but didn't seem worth the money or time to us, as you can walk alongside nearly the entire wheel, plus the tunnel and locks. Also there is plenty to see walking the adjacent grounds, including the Antonine Wall and the Rough Castle Fort. The next stop, just a few minutes away, was the The Kelpies, a huge sculpture of horses well worth the stop. After a nearby lunch stop, we began the 110 mile trek back to s/v Detour. The scenery was beautiful; we passed a castle along the way that would have been a good stop had we had the time and not been more than a bit fatigued from the early start. We got some coffee at a small town and took a longer snack break at the Falls of Dochart. Properly rejuvenated, we enjoyed the scenery all the way back to Fort William; the scenery we could not see in the early morning. Since we would only have the rental car until the morning, we made a stop at the grocery store to stock the fridge. [caption id="attachment_3437" align="alignnone" width="300"] Falls of Dochart[/caption] [caption id="attachment_3436" align="alignnone" width="300"] Castle seen from the highway.[/caption]