The Millennium Link Resource GALLERY
A selection of images from this site, click on the image to see it full size, click on for the full story.
The scaffolding is in place to cast the aqueduct that will eventually lead to the Falkirk Wheel.
Over a mile of new canal,
bridges, a tunnel, and the aqueduct will spectacularly end in this unique
boat-lift. The crane
looks big, but bigger would come in August 2001as the wheel really began to take
The Millennium Link is not just about the Falkirk Wheel , its about re-building and regenerating the world's first sea to sea canal, The Forth and Clyde Canal, reopening the Union Canal, and joining them back together with the Falkirk Wheel.
celebrated the re-opening of the Forth and Clyde Canal, the first stage in this
work as dozens of craft made the journey between The North Sea and the Atlantic
in May. (Other information).
Some novel ideas had to be employed to re-instate the canal, and negotiate obstructions built since the canals were closed in the 1960s, or where opening bridges would impede traffic flow.
Here we see two barges about to sail south through the Clydebank
droplock. Some lateral thinking, lower the boats rather than raising the road!
At the eastern end of the Forth and Clyde canal the original route through Grangemouth couldn't be re-instated so a new section of canal and sea-lock were created into the River Carron.
Here a marina was created, the
monument shown looks down on this eastern end of the canal to celebrate the
re-joining of the River Clyde with the River Forth, the worlds first sea-to-sea
ship canal. There is a similar monument at the western end of the canal in Bowling, Glasgow.
Back to Falkirk and the Wheel.
The major pieces of the Wheel make their way slowly and with some difficulty to the Tamfourhill site.
Negotiating the double roundabout at Glenfuir Road, beside the
Forth and Clyde Canal proved especially challenging for the axle!
Late summer and the most visible work on the wheel takes place, the assembly of the huge pieces to form the main structure. A huge crane is employed to lift sections weighing 100s of tonnes carefully into position over the course of a week.
Here we see the main axle being carefully positioned above
it's final supports.
A few days after the previous picture the caissons or gondolas that will carry the boats are lifted into place.
The picture, by
Richard, on the left sums it all up really:
Engineering, Elegance, Enterprise, Environment.
September 2001 35 metres across the main parts of the massive structure were in place by September as could be seen in tele-photo images.
Meanwhile work on the Union Canal continued, including it's extension to join the Falkirk Wheel. Along the extension various signs were put up in full view of the main Glasgow-Edinburgh rail line to advertise the project.
In September the Union Canal was re-opened, after the main obstruction, a 1.6Km section through Wester Hailes in Edinburgh was completed. It had been filled-in in the 1970s. Boats from the Linlithgow Union Canal Society (right) were for the first time able to pass various obstacles and navigate all the way to the Lochrin Basin in Edinburgh city center.
The Union Canal is a contour canal, carefully engineered to have no Locks. It does however have three major aqueducts, like the Lin's Mill Aqueduct shown here.
Yes, I took this picture, which was given an honourable mention in the British Waterways Lowland Canal Photo Competition 2003! Click it to see how it was done!
The Union Canal ends in the centre of Edinburgh. By the end of 2001 the Leamington Lift Bridge a few hundred metres from the terminus was the only bridge on the whole network still to be renovated. It's restoration happened in parallel with a £60M leisure, retail, and housing development around the canal terminus in Fountainbridge, Edinburgh.
As Summer turned to Autumn the final touches were added to the Falkirk Wheel. A worker in his own "gondola" surveys the addition of stylish "beaks" to the leading edges of the axle. All the structure holding the wheel was removed and for the first time it was supported by its own weight and bearings.
On the 11th December the wheel had it's first Official Rotation, amongst much press interest. Although still "dry" (there was no water in the aqueduct, basin, or gondolas) this was a spectactular event.
December 2001 The stunning view as you exit the new Rough Castle Tunnel and see the aqueduct and wheel for the first time.
By January 2002, the wheel basin had been flooded for the first time and the scene was set. This web-site has a full archive of Webcam Images from the position seen on the left.
The Millennium Link and Wheel were officially opened on the 24th May 2002 by HM The Queen as part of her Golden Jubilee Tour of the UK.
By July 2002, the project is complete, read on about The Wheel operation:
and Seals, how the Boat Lift works.
View the Drive Chamber, it makes the wheel go round!
The Falkirk Wheel Experience:
return to the Millennium Link Resource Main Page