FALKIRK has a good deal of visible history, going right back to the remains of the Roman Antonine Wall. The town was transformed in the eighteenth century by the construction of canals connecting Glasgow and Edinburgh. Within a few years, however, the trains arrived, and the canals gradually fell into disuse.
While Falkirk's canals were a very visible sign of the area's industrial heritage, it was only in recent years that their leisure potential was realized, thanks to British Waterway's £84.5 million Millennium Link project to restore the canals and re-establish a navigable link between east and west coasts. The icon of this project is the remarkable Falkirk Wheel (Web: www.thefalkirkwheel.co.uk ), two miles west of Falkirk town centre. The giant grey wheel, the world's first rotating boat-lift, scoops boats in two giant buckets, or caissons, the 115 feet between the levels of the Forth & Clyde and Union canals linked to Glasgow and Edinburgh respectively.
Beneath the wheel, a visitor centre (daily 9.30am–6pm; free) provides information and sells tickets for a one-hour boat trip from the lower basin into the wheel, along the Union Canal, and back again (daily: April– Oct every 30min 9.30am–4.30pm; Nov– March hourly 10am–3pm; £8). If you want to simply see the wheel in action, this is best done by walking around the basin and adjoining towpaths.