Falkirk Wheel gets ready for a royal party

Sixty boats will join The Falkirk Wheel's anniversary flotilla
Sixty boats will join The Falkirk Wheel's anniversary flotilla

Ten years after The Queen officially opened The Falkirk Wheel, her daughter will come to town to signal the start of anniversary celebrations.

The Princess Royal will launch the ‘Wheel 10’ festivities on Friday by unveiling ‘Blossom’, a commemorative artwork of roundels and discs designed by children along the Millennium Link including pupils at Easter Carmuirs Primary.

It will become a permanent feature and take pride of place below the world’s only rotating boatlift built to renew the link between the Forth & Clyde and Union Canals.

Locals will get the first sign of the impending celebrations today when a flotilla containing 60 canal boats and cruisers, yachts and steam boats begins making its way to the basin of the Forth & Clyde Canal at Camelon.

Organisers the Lowland Canal Volunteer Group and Scottish Canals have pushed the boat out to arrange a colourful programme of activities from 10 a.m. on Saturday to get everyone in the party mood - on and off the water!

Falkirk Bravehearts will have the chance to abseil off the 35-metre high Wheel, while home-built rafts will take part in a race.

The ever-popular water-walkers and rollers will be out for anyone who wants to try walking from one side of the basin to the other without getting their feet wet and there’s also the chance to try canoeing or be a gladiator for the day and take part in combat on the water.

Vessels moored up at the basin and elsewhere on the Forth & Clyde Canal will include Scotland’s second oldest passenger boat, the ‘Ratho Princess’, which dates back to 1923, and ‘White Wing’ from the Scottish Fisheries Museum, and many more will be open to the public to explore.

Also on the water will be a fleet of model boats being put through their paces, demonstrations by International Rescue and a visit by ‘HMS Invincible’.

There will also be plenty of opportunity to take a boat trip on The Wheel or along the canal to Lock 16, fishing taster sessions and guided walks around the Ronald Rae Sculpture and to the Antonine Wall led by the Antonine Guard.

Across from The Wheel there will be comedy from Funny in Falkirk performers, displays by Voodoo Extreme unicycles, acrobats, storytelling, falconry, face painting and a vintage fire engine and bus to investigate.