Monday, 19 August 2013

Reinventing the Wheel

Heads of a Kelpie, a mythological horse
      I live in a country that oozes with historical locations and many are only a short drive away from my home. These sites are presently enjoyed by people from all over the world. But what does the future hold for these great places?
    Will the children of tomorrow still be interested in the castles where Kings and Queens of the past were born, or forts where battles were won and lost? I'm sure some will, however the world is an ever changing place. A world where technology and great scientific inventions prevail.

The Falkirk Wheel
    If we want to keep the children of the future interested in the past, I believe we need to link the two and one such example is the Falkirk Wheel. Built on the site of a disused tar works, an industrial site which was nothing but a blot on the landscape and a hazard to the local inhabitants health. The Falkirk Wheel enables boats to travel along the Forth & Clyde (c.1790) and Union (c.1822) canals, by acting as a boat lift between the two. 

The aqueduct that meets the Wheel, joins the waterways together 
    These waterways lie on different levels, are unconnected and in times gone by this journey between Glasgow and Edinburgh could only be done by the boats passing through a series of lock gates. Each gate having to be worked manually and eventually falling into disrepair in the 1930's.

The Falkirk Wheel is 79 feet high 
  The Falkirk Wheel, is a feat of engineering. Note, I don't say modern day engineering because although designed by architect Tony Kettle and opened by the Queen in May 2002, it was based on the principle of Archimedes's. I'm no physicist, so excuse me for not going into the ins and outs of this law of physics, discovered by the great Greek physicist and mathematician. However, I can tell you that it's all about buoyancy. 

The whole experience can be enjoyed by taking a trip on a canal boat
    This sample shows that we can preserve our heritage with a few scientific, technological tweaks and we can link the past to the future seamlessly, without having to reinvent the wheel.




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