Friday 6 July 2018
On the way to Sterling we visited:
- Rosslyn Chapel at Bilston
- Helix Park and the Kelpies – Falkirk
- The Falkirk Wheel
After a late start (washing van, filling up water and fuel, disposal of grey water and publishing of blogs from the last few days) we headed to Bilston to Rosslyn Chapel which was founded in 1446 to spread intellectual and spiritual knowledge and took forty years to build. Upon paying the entry fee we went into the Chapel, sat on a pew and listened to a free introductory talk about the Chapel and its carvings. Unfortunately, there is no photography allowed inside the Chapel. We then walked down the steps to the tombs which were featured in the film The da Vinci Code with Tom Hanks. The tombs are interesting but are not as spectacular as they are in the movie. Throughout the Chapel there is an enormous amount of intricately carved stone decorations many of which have a symbolic meaning. Considering the Chapel was built in the 15th century and the quality and detail of the carvings the stone masons were extremely skilful. The Chapel is absolutely stunning.
We then drove to Falkirk to Helix Park to see the Kelpies, the largest horse head sculptures in the world, built in 2013 of structural steel with a stainless-steel cladding. The huge area was transformed into a new recreational green space which includes a lagoon, wetlands, a playground, cycling and walking paths and a Visitor Centre with the main attraction being the Kelpies which stand 30 metres tall and weigh over 300 tons. You can go on a tour to see the Kelpie from the inside and view the engineering and design. They are absolutely massive. Word of warning, if you walk along the path to the Kelpies be prepared to be attacked by the swans!
Next stop was the Falkirk Wheel, the world’s only rotating boat lift, which connects the Forth and Clyde Canal with the Union canal in central Scotland. It is 30-metres high, weighs 1200 tonnes and takes less than five minutes to rotate 180 degrees. The wheel was designed to replace a series of lock gates and was opened in 2002. Whilst we were there one tourist boat came down the wheel and two leisure boats came up from the Union Canal and used the wheel to continue their journeys along the Forth and Clyde Canals. It is an absolutely magnificent, mechanical marvel which is amazing to watch.
We continued to Sterling where we stayed in a carpark for £1.40 for 24 hours.