Starting a revolution with festival at the Falkirk Wheel

Lock and Paddle record attempt to fit the greatest number of boats into the boat lift at once. Pics: Scott Louden.
Lock and Paddle record attempt to fit the greatest number of boats into the boat lift at once. Pics: Scott Louden.

The sun shone as families from near and far came together at the Falkirk Wheel on Sunday to enjoy the Revolution Festival.

Visitors were able to enjoy the acrobatic antics of Circus Acts Scotland; walk on water in the wheel’s zorbs, explore the history of the Union Canal by boot or boat, set off on a Segway safari, take a turn on the wheel and dance the day away with the live entertainment.

And there was also the chance to see how many canoes and kayaks can fit inside the Falkirk Wheel as part of a bizarre challenge laid down to Scottish Canals by a counterpart in Canada.

Every year Parks Canada organise Lock & Paddle, when it tries to break the record for the number of paddlers it can fit in the Peterborough Lift Lock in Ontario – the record stands at 328.

This year saw the Falkirk Wheel attempt to beat the record, and it was the first time a boat lift outside of Canada has taken part.

Ahead of Sunday’s event, Mark Smith, head of destinations and tourism at Scottish Canals, had told the Falkirk Herald: “We’re always up for a challenge here at The Falkirk Wheel and we’re honoured to be the first boat lift outside Canada to take part in Lock & Paddle.”

And on the day, the team accepted the challenge from its Canadian counterparts and filled The Falkirk Wheel with over 70 paddlers.

The Falkirk Wheel, which links the Forth & Clyde Canal to the Union Canal 35 metres above, has welcomed more than 6.5 million visitors – more than the populations of Northern Ireland and Wales combined – since its opening by Her Majesty The Queen in 2002.