Scotland 2017 - Day 21

The Falkirk Wheel, the Kelpies and Lindisfarne


. It was always a hard ask to do better than the Enchanted Forest, but the Falkirk Wheel and the Kelpies were also high on our list. From there we headed east, skirting Edinburgh, crossing the border back into England and eventually reaching Beuley. Here we turned east to drive out ot Holy Island and the ancient priory of Lindisfarne. Lindisfarne has the distinction of being the first location raided by the Vikings in 793 AD. Today there is a low causeway joining the island to the miainland, covered by the sea at high tide. We had checked ahead and low tide was for mid-afternoon, so over the causeway we went. We were puzzled by the large number of vehicles escaping the island - where had they all come from? When we reached the village we found out - there was a huge car park still containing at least a hundred cars and there were people walking all over the place. The priory, in the distance, was buried in scaffolding and plastic wrap. The clouds thickened, rain was imminent, so we headed back across the causeway, still with long lines of vehicles leaving the island. From there it was a tiring drive in the traffic and rain to reach our hotel.

The Falkirk Wheel and the Kelpies

A shipping canal runs between Glasgow and Edinburgh. The major difference in heights occurs at Falkirk. There have been various attempts to solve this problem but in recent time a counter-balancing wheel was designed and built. This is as much a tourist attraction as a functioning part of the canal system but is well worth the visit. Nearby lies a new park and tourist attraction with The Kelpies at the centre.

The Falkirk Wheel is a strange design.
It has a large bathtub that holds the boats and this rotates to keep it level.
To lift boats up (or down) the wheel rotates 180°. Here it is half way around.
almost right round....
Rotation completed...
The boat can now sail out of the wheel.
We moved on to The Kelpies. Our first look as we approach them
View of the Kelpies
Reflected in the canal pool.

Holy Island and Lindisfarne

Somewhat naively we thought there would not be many people out at Holy Island in late October. Well there weren't, compared to the crowds in mid-summer. The island is accessed by a low causeway that is flooded by each high tide. There are plenty of warning signs about checking the tide tables and proceeding at your own risk. Not only does the causeway become flooded with water, so too does the village become flooded with people. By the time we arrived at around 2pm there were thousands walking the streets and crowding the cafes. With rain threatening and the priory wreathed in scaffolding we decided to retreat and continue on our way.

But first we had to cross the border back into England.

The Border. Not quite of Hadrian's Wall dimensions.
We departed Scotland.
And headed into England.
Approaching Holy Island.
Almost onto the causeway....
At low tide you can see how low lying it is.
Across the causeway.
We did get a glimpse of Lindisfarne Abbey, but....
Thre were crowds of people walking to and...
from the car park.
Now we knew where all the cars had come from.
So we headed back towards the causeway.
It was raining anyway...
A like-minded local.
"CAUTION Turn here when water reaches causeway" is probably good advice.
We drove on to the Premier Inn at Ashington, which is beside a nature reserve.
The swans were a bit aggressive
But true to their British heritage, they queued up in order with the Canadian geese when someone came out to feed them.


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Last updated: 14/02/2018