Falkirk Wheel & the Antonine Wall
The Falkirk Wheel is completely unique—there is simply nothing comparable anywhere in the world. Aficionados of elegant design must see this modern engineering feat. Travel first by motor coach along the Firth of Forth and over the Kincardine Bridge before reaching the old droving town of Falkirk. Then you’ll switch modes of transportation and take a canal boat journey from the basin outside the Falkirk Wheel Visitor Centre. The Wheel is a massive structure that is literally able to lift boats more than 100 feet into the air—a stunningly simple-yet-intriguing alternative to the ancient system of locks and gates. Your boat maneuvers into the bottom gondola of the Wheel, which then makes a graceful sweep, lifting the boat up and depositing it on the Union Canal that is supported on columns 100 feet above. The ascent takes approximately 15 minutes, allowing plenty of time to enjoy the stunning views of the spectacular surrounding scenery. Once lifted, your boat sails smoothly from the Wheel straight onto the Union Canal and passes along the aqueduct, through the almost 600-foot Roughcastle Tunnel and under the historic Roman fortification of the Antonine Wall. The Antonine Wall was built around 143 BC and stretched from Bo’ness on the River Forth to Old Kilpatrick on the River Clyde. Your guide will point out the well-preserved remains of a Roman military camp. Disembark the boat and take a short walk to the remains of Rough Castle—a fort that is the best preserved of the 19 castles constructed along the length of the Antoine Wall. Turf ramparts 20 feet thick on a stone base defended this fort and double ditches ran around the other three sides. In places, the wall itself still stands five feet high, and the ditches and ramparts are particularly well preserved. Over the causeway, across the Antonine ditch, lies a series of pits called lilia. These originally had a pointed stake at the bottom of each to serve as a trap for anyone attacking the fort. Your guide brings the history of the Roman occupation of Scotland to life as you explore the ruins before returning to the ship.