Today, a departure from the past couple of Wednesday Wonderment posts; this time, the amazing subject are two feats of human engineering near the town of Falkirk in Scotland.
The first is the Falkirk Wheel, which is a rotating boat lift connecting the Forth and Clyde Canal with the Union Canal, which have an elevation difference of 35 meters (appr. 115 feet). Prior to the construction of this marvel, ships were required to go through a system of 11 locks, which could take as much as a day to traverse.
The wheel raises boats by 24 meters, after which they still need to go through 2 locks for the remaining 11 meters. The lock operates on Archimedes’ principle, which states that the upward buoyant force on an object (i.e. boat) equals the mass of the water that is displaced. This means that when a boat enters the moving part of the lock, its mass plus the mass of the water is equal to the mass of the when the boat was not in the lock. In a nutshell both sides of the arm are always balanced.
The Falkirk Wheel is the only lock of its kind in the world; it was opened in 2002.
The other engineering marvel is ancient! It is the Antonine Wall, a turf fortification on stone foundations across the Central Belt of Scotland, between the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Clyde.
Unlike the Falkirk Wheel, it doesn’t stand out in the landscape, but rather blends in pretty well due to its weather state. This lesser known of the two great walls in Great Britain was started at the order of Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius in CE 142, and took around 12 years to complete. Its key function was to provide a fortification to help repel the Caledonians.
The wall had 16 forts with smaller fortlets between them; the soldiers who built the wall placed slabs to commemorate the construction and their struggles with the Caledonians, twenty of which still survive.
The section of the wall in this photo is in walking distance from the Falkirk Wheel. I hope you enjoy these travel photos!