An Aussie odyssey

In late September my website rec’d a hit from an Australian web address.  I replied but it got bounced back.

I had another hit same name different e mail once more it got bounced back.

There was a phone number so I gave it a call and spoke to Kelvin in Australia!

He was coming to Europe and would be in Edinburgh for four days and he wanted to spend one of them visiting the Falkirk wheel!

We agreed a date for a tour and also that he would call to confirm date and time when he arrived.

A call was made and a date and time set.  We set off for the Falkirk Wheel at 1000 on the 6th October and after negotiating the Edinburgh traffic we arrived at the Canal basin and the beginning of the Union Canal Path to the Falkirk Wheel.

Kel was from Sydney and a Primary school teacher and keen to learn some local history as well as having a bike ride.  We came through the final tunnel and as soon as Kel saw the top of the wheel he let out a whoop.  The next hour his body may have been in the café but his mind was outside and as soon as the wheel started operating he was out looking at the wheel.

After food and drink and a final look at the wheel we headed back t Edinburgh.

Kel had really enjoyed his ride almost 70 miles and although the Union canal is a contour canal we recorded over 2000 ft of climb.

 

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The Kelpies, Falkirk wheel and Union Canal.

Sunday 20th March I got the train to Falkirk with my CX bike and headed out on a recce of my Kelpies route.  It was a great day with the sun shining and loads of people taking advantage of the weather.  I got off the train at Falkirk Grahamston and made my way to the Kelpies two enormous horses heads in the Helix park area.  

 After having a look around and taking some pics and video footage I headed for the Falkirk Wheel along the canal bank which leads you straight there.  Not pretty at times but the route is straightforward and mainly flat.  The canal bank was busy and a loose Spaniel caused a bit of consternation to a cyclist in front of me luckily it was under control by the time I reached it.

It’s approx 3 miles from the Kelpies to the Wheel and pretty soon it’s looming in front of you. 

   The Falkirk wheel is used to transport craft from the Forth and Clyde canal to the Union canal and an amazing piece of engineering it is.  It takes the  same amount of power to boil 66 kettles as it does to operate the Wheel!  After watching it in operation I headed through the  180 metre long tunnel leading to the wheel just as another craft came through.  

With the two major sights visited I headed East on the Union Canal path.  The CX bike has CX tyres on it and in general they handled the surface well.  It was obvious that improvements were and are being made to the surface.  The path and the canal were busy as walkers, cyclists, canoeists and sailors took advantage of the day.  The John Muir Way coast to coast walk and bike route uses the canal for some of its route with various detours into the villages near the canal.  However I stuck to the canal path until I reached the village of Old Philipstoun where I headed for South Queensferry and the Forth Road bridges!  The approach roads to the new bridge are under construction and it was heartening to see that cycle tracks are already marked out!

After crossing the bridge I headed down into North Queensferry and picked up the Fife Coastal Path it was here that I could have done with the suspension provided by my 29er not impossible on a CX bike just uncomfortable.  I made my way along the north coast of the Forth taking in the views along the coast and paused near Kirkcaldy to watch a few seals sunbathing on the rocks.

Another good day on the bike and part of a route recce’d.