Travels round Scotland...
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.
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
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
(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.
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
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
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
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.
Wullie went tae Fife... (with
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.
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.
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
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