click here to return to the Millennium Link Resource Home PageFalkirk Wheel First Official Rotation:
11th December 2001

A normal morning at work. A casual conversation with a colleague, "You're interested in that canal wheel at Falkirk, they said on the news this morning that it's going to rotate today". It was 9:10am. By 9:20 I'd found the Falkirk Wheel phone number on the web and called the office, "Oh yes said the pleasant voice, 10:40 this morning".

There then ensued a mad dash the twenty miles to Falkirk, find suitable clothing and footwear (courtesy of Peter) and walk through the woods to what we thought was the best vantage point. As we passed the site we could see a sea of yellow tabards as the press and camera crews were shown round. We pressed on from the south of the wheel round the perimeter of the site west then our vantage point from the NW. The three hardy souls got there, at 10:40.

What we saw is described below:

The View

Various stills from our location

The Rotation

GIF's and linked stills animating the rotation

The Media

The press coverage that evening

The View

We choose the spot to the NW of the wheel because the most accessible viewpoint from the north has the Forth & Clyde canal in the way, and the basin and lower wheel obscured by the embankment. The view from the South is obscured by the aqueduct. By walking through the trees to the west to the NW we had a better view, very similar to the webcam, but we were outside the Wheel complex compound. Previous experience told us the security guards took security seriously.

The wheel started in roughly this position, before moving to the vertical just after this shot was taken. The press had gathered out of sight in the area between the Visitors' Center and the wheel.

From our viewpoint we could see into the basin through the scrub in front of us.

You can also see the detail of what we presume is cladding to cover the control room and motor section of the wheel. From time to time we could see various (presumably press) people walking round the basin and along the aqueduct.

The Rotation

This was the first official rotation, but the wheel has been trial rotated since the 22nd October (Webcam of first movement), and 25th October (canal-side view of works). From our viewpoint this is what we saw:


Still images (.jpg) ______________________________________________________________________


A sequence of 12 images processed to simulate the tripod we didn't have time to bring!


Video Clips (.avi) ______________________________________________________________________


GIF Animation (110K)
Composite low resolution animation of the still image sequence.


The rotation itself took about 10 minutes to rotate 180o. The first 135o at a faster speed than the last 45o.

The Media

The written press and the local TV News covered the event that evening and the following day. Unfortunately there are no direct links on the web to this material:


All photographs: James Gentles & Peter McCulloch