The site for all Scots, Scots descendants and Scotophiles, right across the world     

A light-hearted e-magazine with facts, figures, folklore, photographs; with lots of wee bits  of general info about Scotland - and some big bits. A site for folk to read, browse and, if you like - contribute to.

 

In WEE BITS, in The Mag., thre's an article on the correct colour of Blue for The Saltire WELCOME to Find it in Scotland. The site's navigation menu Main Headings are down the left-hand panel. Click on these to see what's in each one. Some sections have a LOT in them.
~ Happy Browsing ~

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Travels round Scotland... (cont) 

Jist a wee thrissle I maun be, but diina' ye daur sit on me! Mostly, these will be the ongoing journeys of a retired Scot on a mission to learn more about his Homeland. With my long-term Boss (Mrs Wullie), I'll be discovering as much of the Mainland and Islands as we can manage.

Jist a wee thrissle I maun be, but diina' ye daur sit on me! I'll be adding some recent journeys, with plenty of photographs to add interest, and with wee bits about the places, people, history, geography, wildlife, etc. etc. wherever we find ourselves.

  For this will not be an organised tour of our Land; rather, a spur-of-the-moment; let's-go-to-wherever; we've never been to such-and-such, so come on; so-&-so said that place was grand, so we'll have a look ... -type of journal.

Jist a wee thrissle I maun be, but diina' ye daur sit on me!I f you're interested, feel free to comment; if you have your own experiences, good or bad, about a place - use our Scot-Talk section to tell the world in a blog. It all helps towards a greater knowledge of Scotland, for those who would like to know it better.

And if you have any queries I may be able to help with, ask the question.

  ...contact us at info@finditinscotland.com

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    (The website logo shows the Forth Bridge (rail) with the Kingdom of Fife across the water, from the wee harbour of South Queensferry north-west of Edinburgh. )

Happy travelling, with Wullie, the Wandering Scot.  
***** 
The Falkirk Wheel... 
 
Wullie & Mrs Wullie had our twin grandchildren to stay over and, as most 5-year-old bairns are, they needed things to do. So we took them on a wee journey to see the Falkirk Wheel. It's a grand site, originally opened purely as a working canal boat lift, but it now has a large visitor centre, childrens' playground - and of course, boat trips up, along, and back down - The Wheel.
 
The kids were delighted with their day, and the centre is well worth a visit, for this is a unique structure, showing what Scotland can do in a most inventive and innovative way...  

 

The Falkirk Wheel – the world’s first and only rotating boat lift – was built to link the Forth and Clyde Canal and the Union Canal, which runs 35m (115ft) above. Originally, these canals had been joined at Falkirk by a flight of 11 locks covering a distance of 1.5km, but these has been dismantled in 1933, breaking the link.

 The Falkirk Wheel lies at the end of a reinforced concrete aqueduct that connects, via the Roughcastle tunnel and a double staircase lock, to the Union Canal. Boats entering the Wheel’s upper gondola are lowered, along with the water that they float in, to the basin below. At the same time, an equal weight rises up, lifted in the other gondola. This works on the Archimedes principle of displacement. That is, the mass of the boat sailing into the gondola will displace an exactly proportional volume of water so that the final combination of ‘boat plus water’ balances the original total mass.

Each gondola runs on small wheels that fit into a single curved rail fixed on the inner edge of the opening on each arm. In theory, this should be sufficient to ensure that they always remain horizontal, but any friction or sudden movement could cause the gondola to stick or tilt. To ensure that this could never happen and that the water and boats always remain perfectly level throughout the whole cycle, a series of linked cogs acts as a back up.LOOKING UP AT THE WHEEL, FROM THE WATERBUS MOORING POINT 
 
Hidden at each end, behind the arm nearest the aqueduct, are two 8m diameter cogs to which one end of each gondola is attached. A third, exactly equivalent sized cog is in the centre, attached to the main fixed upright. Two smaller cogs are fitted in the spaces between, with each cog having teeth that fit into the adjacent cog and push against each other, turning around the one fixed central one. The two gondolas, being attached to the outer cogs, will therefore turn at precisely the same speed, but in the opposite direction to the THE SAME BARGE, AS IT PASSES US.Wheel.
THE VIEW TOWARDS THE TOP OF THE AQUEDUCT, AND THE TOP OF THE WHEEL, AS WE WAIT FOR A PLEASEURE BARGE, JUST COME UP FROM THE CANAL BASIN BELOW, TO CLEAR THE WATERWAY. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
Given the precise balancing of the gondolas and this simple but clever system of cogs, a very small amount of energy is actually then required to turn the Wheel. In fact, it is a group of ten hydraulic motors located within the central spine that provide the small amount, just 1.5kw, of electricity to turn it.
 
You'll get all the details you need to pay a visit to The Wheel from their website, at  http://www.thefalkirkwheel.co.uk/
 
***** 
 
 
DO take a look at the slides...  Wullie went tae Fife... (with slideshow) 
 
Just recently, we had a couple of days to spare, so we paid a wee visit to Fife. To St. Andrews on the first morning, after we found Kellie Castle shut; the weather was terrible, and we got weel drookit (well soaked) when we did the Castle there; it's all outdoors, and the combination of wind and rain meant photography was not an option. St.Andrews Castle has a lot of history, but on that appalling day, not at its best. 
 
We were sorry that the National Trust has found it necessary to close Kellie Castle for part of each week, now; this and other sites are suffering from budget cuts - brought on by the global financial crisis, they say. Kellie Castle is a fine, well-preserved 14th-century castle, with a contemporary kitchen, "fabulous" Victorian nursery, and a fine walled garden. It's a fine building, as the slides will show. 
 
So we went to look at the Hill of Tarvit Mansion House & Garden. This is a superb Edwardian mansion built by Sir Robert Lorimer. The House contains a collection of French, Scottish & Chippendale furniture, and some paintings by Ramsay and Raeburn. (this is what the guide book says; unfortunately, as with Kellie Castle - it was shut - and had been since the end of June.) But the gardens are open - and magnificent they are, too. Well worth the looking at, in their own right. 
 
We were staying in Falkland overnight, and just in case any of you end up staying there, and need a place to eat, we can thoroughly recommend the local Chinese restaurant, just off the main square. It's just a wee place, but the food was very good. Herself was impressed, and that takes a bit of doing. 
 
The next day - NO RAIN! So we took a walk into the Falkland Estate, to go and see the Falls of Yad. Falkland Estate was once a country retreat for the Stuart kings and queens of Scotland; today it is a country retreat for anyone and there are pleasant walks, and some steepish slopes to get to the two main sights -the Falls of Yad, and the Tyndall Bruce Monument. WE walked for about an hour, level and slightly sloping to start with - and we came to a waterfall (the first one in the slideshow) and thought we had done well. BUT, then our guide told us that no, this is not the Falls of Yad... so we walked, and the ground rose, and the walk became steeper, and steeper (though perfectly safe as long as you don't have a weak heart, and watch your footing) and eventually we turned another sloping corner - and there were the Falls. The Coalpit Burn tumbles over the rocky ledge, silvering its way down to the Maspie Den, where it changes to the Maspie Burn. But for me, the best bit (apart from having made it through the trek) was that you can walk right behind the Falls; you can see that in the slideshow, also. 
 
   We didn't make it to the The Tyndall Bruce monument. Maybe next time. But now, take a look at the wee slideshow (with music) for a flavour of the visit. Fife has some lovely places to see. 
Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Wullie went to Fife 
  ***** 
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