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Falkirk: Glasgow, Edinburgh & Falkirk Wheel

Boats Available:

Duchess 4
Lautrec 4
Princess 2
Princess 4
Princess 6
Shakespeare 4

Black Prince Holidays are now running from this new and dramatic location.

Based at the Falkirk Wheel, one of the most stunning backdrops anywhere on the canals, we are ideally sited half way between Edinburgh and Glasgow.  The Falkirk Wheel is 115 feet high - the equivalent height of eight double decker buses. It is 115 feet wide and 100 feet long. The wheel will lift loads of 600 tonnes (300 at each end) - the approximate weight of 81 adult African elephants. The structure stands in a 330 feet wide circular basin with moorings for over 20 boats. Before redevelopment, the site was a deep open cast pit left behind by mining, which ended in the early 1980s. Prior to that the site was the home of Scottish Tar, producing various tar-related products. The total project cost was approximately £17 million and work took 22 months. The wheel is designed to last for at least the next 120 years.

The Falkirk WheelThe first wheel-based boat lift was proposed by a German engineer at the beginning of the last century, though it was never built. The Falkirk Wheel is the world's first rotating boat lift and the first boat lift to be built in Britain since the Anderton Boat Lift in Cheshire, which dates from 1875

Click here for Base Information
Click here for Holiday & Forward Planning Information

Click here for Falkirk Base Information (pdf file 655 Kb)
Click here for Falkirk Routes Information (pdf file 579 Kb)

Suggested Routes From Falkirk

66 Miles, 6 Locks, 1 Week Cruise, 3 hours per day
Cruise out of our base at Falkirk, through the Falkirk Wheel ,passing high above the town as you approach the Falkirk lnterchange and head towards Edinburgh. Travel on the lock free Union Canal, passing over the magnificent Almond Aqueduct. Then on through the villages of Linlithgow and Ratho, the home of the Edinburgh Canal Centre. Then retrace your steps back to Falkirk, descending the Wheel back to the start base.

136 Miles, 14 Locks, 1 Week Cruise, 6 hours per day
Based at the Falkirk Wheel, mid-way between Glasgow and Edinburgh, our base provides the ideal start point to visit both cities. Heading to Edinburgh, you go up through the Wheel and travel on the lock free Union Canal, passing over the magnificent Almond Aqueduct. Then on through the villages of Linlithgow and Ratho, the home of the Edinburgh Canal Centre. From Edinburgh, you then head back towards Falkirk and Glasgow, descending the Wheel and joining the Forth and Clyde with it's locks and swing bridges. Travel through splendid scenery and villages such as Auchinstarry and Kirkintillock, to Cadder Village and on into Glasgow. Then retrace your steps back to Falkirk.

Falkirk provides countless places of interest to visit. Scotland's Roman heritage is never far away as the Forth & Clyde Canal carries the boats through splendid scenery to Kirkintilloch, then on to Cadder Village and into Glasgow. The arm to Port Dundas affords views over the city and features many historic buildings, including some of those designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

 Falkirk Base Information

Hotels / Guest Houses
Best Western Park Lodge Hotel, Camelon Riad, Falkirk, FK1 5RY
Telephone: 01324 628331
55 Rooms.  No pets
Double / Single Rooms inc breakfast £65

Ashbank House, 105 Main Street, Redding, Falkirk. FK2 9UQ.
Telephone: 01324 716649
Price Guide: Double room £56 per person /  Single £40 per person (incl breakfast)

Oaklands, 32 Polmont Road, Laurieston, Near Falkirk. FK2 9QT.
Telephone: 01324 610671
Price Guide: Double room £65 per person /  Single £45 per person (incl breakfast)


Public Transport

Nearest Railway Station: Falkirk High Station or Falkirk Grahamston
www.nationalrail.co.uk Tel: 08457 484950
www.thetrainline.com Tel: 0871 244 1545
Nearest Airport: Edinburgh Tel. 0131 333 1000
wheel basin. Enter the gondola and both someone at the bow and stern should go onto the walkway and tie off the boat. Everyone should get back onto the boat whilst the wheel turns. The thing of interest to watch for here is over the stern as the baffles rise from the water, the water is drained from between them, and the securing bolts are withdrawn. Then the wheel begins to turn. When you have completed your cycle, your crew in the bow can watch the same thing happening in reverse. BW staff will tell you when to leave the gondola.

If it is windy at the top, keep a reasonable amount of throttle open so you are not pushed into the leeward bank. Pass through the tunnel under the Antonine Wall if you keep your eyes on one side of the boat and make sure you keep a roughly constant space from the towpath, you will keep straight. If you look to the front of the boat, an optical illusion will suggest you are not going straight. Once you leave the tunnel, turn to the left and into the first of two locks in series. Same procedure as in the lower lock with only BW operating them. If the lock gates are not open, moor at the bollards on your left until the lock has been emptied and the gates opened.

Once you have cleared these locks you have no more obstacles between you and Edinburgh, which is 10 and a half hours cruising away. However, you will pass through the Falkirk Tunnel, which usually has a water spout coming through the roof at the west end on the towpath side. It is easily avoided. Best place to stop for your first night is Linlithgow (just through the bridge at Manse Road basin, where the Linlithgow Union Canal Society have their boats), which is three hours from the locks. If you would like to have a bottle/s of wine delivered to the boat when you arrive at the basin, phone Linlithgow Wines (Tel: 01506 848821) after clearing the locks, place your order and tell them you will be there in three hours.

It is only five minutes walk to the High Street in Linlithgow and a good selection of restaurants and take aways. Again, if you would like to start your holiday with a restaurant meal you might want to try Livingston's in the High Street 2AA rosette award. But ring (Tel no. 01506 846565) and book several weeks in advance for Saturday nights. If you want to stop earlier, the best thing is to go through the Falkirk Wheel and the two locks above it and then moor up. You can then walk back to your car and have access to Falkirk.

If you are cooking on board and don t want to travel very far once you have cleared the top locks, moor up in front of the door into the Seagull Trust boathouse just before the Falkirk Tunnel. This is a good spot if you have a dog, as there are acres of parkland right beside you. Not a good place if you plan a long lie, as the Seagull Trust people may want to shift you about nine in the morning so they can get their boat out.

Subsequent movements through the Falkirk Wheel - If you are coming from the west along the Forth and Clyde Canal, you should phone to book the Falkirk Wheel when you pass under Bonnybridge road bridge. Similarly, if you are coming from the east along the Union Canal, you should phone the Falkirk Wheel when you have cleared the Falkirk Tunnel and before the Seagull Trust boathouse.

Movement on the Forth and Clyde Canal if coming through the wheel off the Union Canal - advise British Waterways (Tel: 0845 676 6000) the DAY BEFORE you want to start moving west on the Forth and Clyde. Tell them the name of the boat, what time you will be at Bonnybridge road bridge (or where you will be setting off from the following morning and at what time) and how far you wish to go that day. There is little point going east on the Forth and Clyde Canal from our base, other than down to lock 16 where there is a turning place and the Union Inn (good spot for a meal in their conservatory restaurant (To book tel: 01324 623578). From here it is just a series of locks down to the sea.

Hours for Locks and Bridges Forth and Clyde Canal
8.30am 5.15pm (Mid June to end August 8.30am 7.15pm)

Falkirk Wheel hours and locks above and below
Apr 1 May 31 Mon Thu 9.00am 6.00pm; (7.00pm Fri/Sat/Sun)
June 1 - Sept. 2 9.00am 7.00pm
Sept 3 Oct 31 Mon Thu 9.00am 6.00pm; (7.00pm Fri/Sat/Sun)

Forward Planning
MOBILE 'PHONE - Bring a mobile 'phone with and a car cigar lighter type re-charger connection with you if you
have them, to enable you to contact the Falkirk Wheel staff to arrange passage through the wheel and to contact other British Waterways staff if and when required. If you do not have a 'phone, we can rent you one with re-charger at a small charge.

Locks and bridges on the Forth and Clyde Canal are also currently operated by BW staff and a 'phone will allow you to contact them and arrange passage at your convenience. The reason for this is that some of the lock gates are still very stiff after having lain virtually unused for over 30 years. BW staff welcome your assistance with lock operation.

WHICH DIRECTION - Decide which direction you wish to travel first when you set out in your narrowboat on
Saturday afternoon from our base at the Falkirk Wheel - east through the Falkirk Wheel and onto the lock free Union Canal towards Edinburgh, or west along the Forth and Clyde Canal towards Glasgow.

EAST - You do not need to book passage through the Falkirk Wheel. As soon as you are ready to leave, we will put you in any queue there might be for the Wheel. The wheel closes at 7.00pm in June/July and August and from March to May and September and October at 7.00pm on Fri/Sat/Sun and 6.00pm Mon Thu.

WEST - If you wish to go west on the Forth and Clyde Canal first on your departure Saturday, about a
week before your departure date you MUST 'phone British Waterways on 0845 676 6000 and tell them what time you intend to be at Bonnybridge lift bridge. Allow 30 minutes to load your luggage onto the boat and settle in. It will then take us about 30 - 40 minutes to complete the handover and 35 minutes for you to cruise from our base to Bonnybridge. So allow 1 hour 45 minutes between arrival and bridge booking time.

BW staff may ask to vary your time slightly depending on other craft in transit.


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