SUNDAY 26 JUNE
It rained quite a bit overnight, but was dry when we left Stirling to continue heading south.
Quilting Orchardist from NZ commented on one of my posts with the question as to whether or not we had seen the Falkirk Wheel. My answer was that I’d never even heard of it. Well, now, not only have I heard of it, I’ve seen it. What it is, is a circular lock, and I think the only one in the world. It was only built a few years ago.
The water comes along the canal at a high level and then drops down to a lower level and the boats have to be lifted down. So, the water is directed along a high channel extending out over the edge of the hill. The wheel has two big buckets (for lack of a better description by me) which are full of water. The wheel is stopped and the door in the end of the bucket is opened, so the canal now effectively extends into the bucket. The boat then moves into the bucket.
Then the wheel turns and lowers the bucket, including the boat, down to the lower level.
The door is opened and the boat sails out into the little lake and on its way. The whole process is reversed for boats that need to be lifted to the upper level of the canal. It is really clever and the engineering is amazing. Not only does the wheel have to turn and lift incredible weights, the buckets have to be on rollers to keep them level all the time.
It had been dry while we looked at the wheel, but when we were getting back on the bike we had a sudden downpour, not the best timing for it.
As usual, we had no real plans on where to go, but a couple of people had said how nice Berwick-Upon-Tweed is, so we thought we would aim for there.
The countryside was really pretty as we travelled along. It was so different from the more northerly areas, with crops much further advanced.
We crossed back into England. I missed getting a photo of the proper sign.
We arrived in Berwick-Upon-Tweed, which has one of the most complete walls and fortifications in northern Europe, in the early afternoon. (Now remember that with all the towns ending in “wick” that the “W” is silent, so it is pronounced “Berrick”.) The walls were first built in the middle ages and then Queen Elizabeth I had them greatly improved. They were in use until the 1700s. Today they provide a pleasant walk around the town.
The bastions for the guns are still quite clearly seen.
We could see down into this pretty churchyard as we walked along.
Berwick was a garrison town and had the first ever purpose barracks built in the 1700s.
Mick started to get a bit sneezy. This is why. We are now actually seeing grasses in flower.
There are three bridges across the Tweed. The “Old Bridge” at the front carried all the traffic from Edinburgh to London until 1928, when the new bridge in the middle was built. At the back there is the railway viaduct.
The railway bridge is really busy.
As the evening was nice, we got takeaway fish and chips and went back up on the wall to eat them.
Then we went for a walk out to the lighthouse, which was covered by scaffold and tarps as it is being repainted.
It was so nice to have the afternoon and evening walking.