Tuesday Photo Challenge – Wheel

What comes around…

Welcome to week 159 of the Tuesday Photo Challenge!

After a great week of Technology, I thought it would be fun to switch to some early technology that has affected humanity’s advancement over the ages; so this week, the theme is Wheel! Of course, the Wheel comes in all shapes and sizes, and it can be a noun or a verb. I think that this might give all of you some room for exploration and creative expression, to which I very much look forward!!

So let’s wheel around and have a blast with this theme!

Here’s a wheel of great power…

Archimedes at Work!

The Falkirk Wheel is a creative solution to reduce the number of locks that have to be traversed in order to overcome a height difference between canals. This wheel raises boats by 24 meters, so that they need to traverse only 2 additional locks to overcome the remaining 11 meters of difference between the Forth and Clyde Canal and the Union Canal. It’s an impressive machine to see in action!

The full rules of this challenge are in TPC Guidelines, but here’s the tl;dr:

  • Write a post with an image for this week’s topic
  • Please tag your post with fpj-photo-challenge (if you’re not sure about how tags work, please check out this WordPress article about tagging posts)
  • Create a pingback link to this post, so that I can create a post showing all of the submissions over the week (note: pingbacks may not appear immediately, as my site is set up to require approval for linking to it; helps against previous bad experiences with spamming)
  • Have fun creating something new (or sharing something old)!!

Spin the wheel and see what rolls for you!!

Variation on the Lock Theme

Spinning through time and space

The WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge provides the theme of Variations on a Theme.

Another opportunity for me to share some vacation shots, as there was a particular variation on the theme of lock.  Boat lock, that is.

The Falkirk Wheel is a one of a kind solution to boats having to traverse a large number of locks due to the different elevation levels in canals.  The canals in question are the Forth and Clyde canal and the Union canal.

As you can see, the wheel is a rotating boat lift, which raises the boats 24m.  This elegant and simple design first opened in 2002 to transport boats and re-establish the connection between the canals for the first time since the 1930s.

The wheel is always perfectly balanced, as Archimedes’ principle is used rather effectively; the contents of each the water-filled caissons is always in balance, as the weight of the boat displaces an amount of water equal to that weight to create the buoyant force keeping it afloat.

If you look carefully, you may notice the name of one of the boats: Archimedes.

The town of Falkirk is fairly close to Edinburgh, with which it is connected by the Union canal.  It is also close to the Antonine Wall, which is within walking distance of the wheel.

Hope you enjoy your day!


Wednesday Wonderment – pt 3

New and old engineering marvels

Falkirk Wheel in action

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.

Falkirk Wheel from below.

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.

Wheel with boat


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.

Antonine Wall

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!


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