The Millennium Wheel Canal extension
The progress of works to rejoin the Forth & Clyde and Union Canals. Please view this file in conjunction with the previous update in December 2000.
The Union Canal ends abruptly at Port Maxwell south of Falkirk. The entry to 11 locks that dropped the canal down to the Forth and Clyde Canal 500m east of Port Maxwell were removed in the 1930s, you can walk the route but nothing remains of them. The new link between the canals is completely different, and is shown in the diagrammatic map. The electricity pylon line that used to cross the canal has been terminated and buried either side of the canal as shown in the map.
Not much change at Port Maxwell, a couple of barges are clearing out the end of the old canal on the left.
The new canal strikes NW (right of the picture) straight into an aqueduct over an unclassified road (NS865794).
The canal is formed here to cross the new aqueduct shown above, but the canal is not watered from here through to the wheel.
The canal then contours west for 1Km, the following two views are taken from the middle of this new canal, looking east then west respectively.
At the end of this new canal two new locks drop the height significantly into a large basin sunk into the surrounding ground (NS854795).
The two locks have their walls formed, and the basin is dug, and partially lined. Little change here from December 2000.
From the basin the canal heads north, quickly crossing under the main Glasgow - Edinburgh railway line and immediately into the new tunnel under the Antonine Wall. (NS854797).
It is about 150m long, and emerges on the north facing hillside above the Forth & Clyde Canal, about 500m south of it.
You can see the concrete edges to the banking, then the canal narrows over the aqueduct in this shot from immediately above the north tunnel portal.
Lots of activity here. The supports for the Wheel aqueduct are formed, and the canal itself is being "cast", as can be seen in this close-up.
To the left of the white crane, below the canal (in the distance) is the post with the Webcams on it.
Looking back the other way, you can see the supports for the wheel, and the arch where boats will enter the wheel cassion.
This construction is near the lock between the new basin and the Forth & Clyde Canal, it looks like a water level control mechanism.
In this view you could just see the top of the north portal of the tunnel before they landscaped the area!
The scaffolding is holding the canal aqueduct as it is cast. (The Forth & Clyde Canal is in the foreground, not fully re-watered).
In this view, just to the right of the previous picture you can see the foundations for the foot bridge across the Forth and Clyde Canal, giving access to the Wheel, Visitor Center, and Union Canal. Water level should be just below the wooden strip along the concrete.
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Photographs: James Gentles