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Old 31 January 2009, 04:35   #1
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Falkirk Wheel

Does anyone know, or have experience of, going from Glasgow to Edinburgh (i.e. coast-to-coast) via the Falkirk Wheel in an 8 or 9m rib.
I would be interested to know:
Is it possible?
How long approx. does it take?
Any pros or cons?

NB Refueling is probably not going to be an issue.
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Old 31 January 2009, 04:52   #2
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Brian - do you want to go "coast to coast" - i.e. get from Firth of Clyde Estuary to the Firth of Forth? or get to the centre of Edinburgh? If its the former you don't need to go through the falrkirk wheel.

The Forth and Clyde goes from Bowling (on the Clyde, very roughly 10 miles down the river from Glasgow) to the River Carron which connects to the Forth just West of Grangemouth.

In contrast the Union Canal runs from the centre of Edinburgh to Falrkirk where, via the wheel, it joins the Forth and Clyde. The union canal is however a "dead end" so you can't get out into the sea at the Edinburgh end.

It is passable all the way and there is an increasing amount of traffic - but it is still not busy. Not sure the beam of your rib but my concern would be damage to the tubes - especially in some very narrow sections. There is also a risk from underwater obstructions. With the speed limit it also not going to be a very fast way to get from one side to the other.

If you specifically wanted to "do the wheel" in a rib - then it would be feasible to launch in the forth - go up the carron, into the Forth & Clyde Canal, over the wheel and then turn round and go back (without going all the way to Edinburgh) as that is all well maintained canal and the bits round the wheel are well used by tour boats.

If you do decide to do it you will want lots of fenders and quite a few crew. Geckos might be advisable for some of the glasgow stretches too! If you make it as far as linlithgow I'll happily take your lines and buy you a pint!

Not done it, but the canal is literally at my back door - so happy to help find out info for you if I can!
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Old 31 January 2009, 07:57   #3
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[QUOTE=Brian;280553] Does anyone know, or have experience of, going from Glasgow to Edinburgh (i.e. coast-to-coast) via the Falkirk Wheel in an 8 or 9m rib.
I would be interested to know:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian View Post
Is it possible?
Yes it is.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian View Post
How long approx. does it take?
2 days one over night just watch where you stop. we stopped in Falkirk last time was ok. the guys running the locks are spot on and drive along with you in vans to work the gates etc. ask them where they think you should stop over.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian View Post
Any pros or cons?
The Canal goes past some of the "less desirable parts of Glasgow and it's surrounding enclaves. the locals can find it sporting to amuse them self's with boats that pass. but from first hand experience it is not all that bad. mind you last time we did it the police had closed off the tow path at one point as it was suggested they had found a body

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian View Post
NB Refueling is probably not going to be an issue.
you can get fuel at either end. the Edinburgh end was 11ppl cheeper than Port Edgar last time.
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Old 31 January 2009, 09:42   #4
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Many thanks Polwart and mdt !!
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Old 31 January 2009, 10:35   #5
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Does anyone know, or have experience of, going from Glasgow to Edinburgh (i.e. coast-to-coast) via the Falkirk Wheel
Did it in 6.5m from carron to falkirk wheel and Union canal along towards edinburgh turned and stayed at falkirk for night the union canal was very shallow think we hit a underwater blue car.
Left first thing morning but only made glasgow Applecross basin then out at bowling next day, No trouble BW very effecient. wouldnt like to do it if raining need plenty fenders both sides and long old warps as everything gets slimy. 200hp optimax didnt like tickover speeds. BW didnt like speeds more than 5/6 kn PM me if you are doing it and need help
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Old 31 January 2009, 11:44   #6
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HI we have used the canal several times with our last boat (hardy pilot) as mentioned two strokes dont like the slow speed you have to travel within the canal and up the carron.

I have to say that its a great trip but points to consider

- Both ends are tide dependant on tide and do dry out
- BW staff are usually a great assistance, however we have had our plans stuffed on 2 occasions when making arrangements with the supervisor at Auchenstary.

- On one occasion it took us 2 days to get from Auchenstary to Bowling, not so bad if you have accomodation on your boat but leaving your boat over night unatended in Maryhill is perhaps not the best idea

- On the second occasion staff that were due to assist with our transit failed to appear adding another day onto our journey


BW produce pilotage notes and are worth investing in if unfamiliar with the area or appropriate tide times and the use of canals.


We never put our boat onto the Falkirk wheel as it would have added an extra day onto our journey however there is a passenger carrying boat that does trips on the wheel and it saves you climbing your boat up into the basin.

All in all a great trip and as the lock keepers do all the work for you (setting the locks etc.)it leaves you free to fend your boat off the slimy walls, enjoy the views and insults from some locals

Oh and check your teltale frequently not when there is tons of steam coming out the engine

enjoy...
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Old 01 February 2009, 03:26   #7
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link to canals & Caladonia Canal Question

Hello Brian

The following link may also be od assistance

www.scottishcanals.co.uk

I found it while reviewing a possible Caladonia canal passage (west to East)

If any of those Knowledgeable Scottish ribsters have any advise on the Caladonia canal - greatly recieved.
This Thread can then become Scottish canal (Generally) if you are happy.

Questions so far:
I have found the licencse application form and a transit license would seem to do the job. Can this be gained at Fort William at arrival at the sea lock, or does it need getting in advance.
aim would be to get throgh Sea lock late afternoon.
next day do 50% of transit,
next day 50% and wait overnight in canal
last day exit ito sea.

All advice welcome Paul
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Old 01 February 2009, 05:01   #8
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Hello Brian

The following link may also be od assistance

www.scottishcanals.co.uk

I found it while reviewing a possible Caladonia canal passage (west to East)

If any of those Knowledgeable Scottish ribsters have any advise on the Caladonia canal - greatly recieved.
This Thread can then become Scottish canal (Generally) if you are happy.

Questions so far:
I have found the licencse application form and a transit license would seem to do the job. Can this be gained at Fort William at arrival at the sea lock, or does it need getting in advance.
aim would be to get throgh Sea lock late afternoon.
next day do 50% of transit,
next day 50% and wait overnight in canal
last day exit ito sea.

All advice welcome Paul
Actually Paul - Brian might be just the man! The Caledonian Canal

mdt (and FJarvis - who has now deviated into windpowered boats) has also been through (East to West) by rib - if you search you'll find the thread.

Are you sleeping on the boat or ashore? camping or B&B?

My understanding is that the paperwork and payment can be sorted out on arrival through either sea lock.
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Old 01 February 2009, 05:10   #9
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you can fill in the paper work when you turn up but it is easer to fill it in before hand as you also need to show your insurance docs before you can get in.

We did it East to West 2 years ago, during the easter weekend, we got into the sea lock on Friday mid day. Took cars and trailers down to Oban got a lift back and stayed the night in the sea lock then headed off 1st thing on saturday. As we needed to get down to Oban by sunday afternoon, we did not stop and where flat out in the lochs and sat at 6knots in the slow bits. we got to Loch Lochy by the time they had closed the canal at 5pm. spent the night there. then carried on down to Fortwilliam and out to Oban.

so your time constraints of 4 days is going to be a bit more relaxed than when we did it, and all the more enjoyable for it. The lock keepers did say that it is a lot slower in the summer when all the hire boats are out "crashing into things" there words. oh and there is a big sod off cruse boat (700 odd tons) lord of the glen, that runs up and down the canal twice a week or so and it gets first shout at every lock... even if you are there first.
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Old 01 February 2009, 08:12   #10
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Thanks Polwart

Hello Neil

I trust you and the family are keeping well.

thanks for your links/searches. I had'nt got that far but seeing how Brians questions on the 'lower crossing' was going - I just added mine also!

We are hoping to do a West Coast of Scotland trip again this year.
Plan may be to take the Boat to Redbay via Lands End- leave it at Redbay.
Then when the next weather/holiday opportunity arrives to go from Redbay via West Coast to Fort William and the Canal.
If timing or weather does'nt allow I would keep the boat temporarily at say Inverness and then come back again when I think I could get a good run around Peterhead and back down the East Coast.

If its just Bryn and myself we would sleep on board - unless like last April we have absolute freezing temperatures!
Meet up this time around? for sure.
regards
Paul
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