Millennium Link Royal
Our instructions saw us leave our car at the Falkirk Golf Club at 12:30, to be
bussed to the Wheel site.
On arrival at the Wheel site British Waterways had a hospitality tent, but the anoraks in us quickly headed down to the wheel, home made sandwiches in hand!
The rain was never far away, providing the threatening
atmosphere for this picture of the wheel, basin and Visitor Centre. You can see
the stands all round the New Port Downie Basin.
We were not allowed access to the Visitor Centre, this was for A-list guests only!
In this view you can see the covered walkway erected for the Royal Party, should
the weather get really nasty!
All over the site there were the signs that everything was just finished in time.
The showers kept on coming.
a small band of (wet) entertainers tried hard to keep up our spirits.
the early afternoon the wheel kept turning, quite a spectacle to see for the
first time close up.
"The Caledonian" would carry the Queen, she waits in Union Canal Lock 1, ready to ceremonially enter New Port Downie Basin.
Quite a sight inside, the first canal boat I've ever seen with
wall to wall carpet!
occasion the jetty in the basin had a podium (right) and pretend opening button
(left) to officially start the wheel.
media took up position at Lock 1, where they would get good views of the
ceremony about to unfold.
was also a feature, these chaps looked a wee bit out of place on the Forth &
Clyde Canal, whilst...
this pair hid discretely in New Port Downie Basin underneath the Aqueduct.
As 2:15 approached everyone took their seat as these panoramas
show. At least for a while the rain went off and the sun made a brief
appearance. Click the images for full resolution (6570x1000 and 5880x1050).
For nearly an hour we were entertained by a Music and Dance festival by local school children as well as music from the band of HM Royal Marines.
This was punctuated with short heavy showers, and hail stones.
after 3:20 the Royal Party arrived outside the Visitor Centre, the sun trying
hard to shine.
The Royal party ceremonially sail into New Port Downie.
Past the stands to the Jetty.
First Minister Jack McConnell waves frantically to the crowds in
the Queen talked to the guests in the south stands, The Duke of Edinburgh talked
to children in the northern stands.
before 4:00, after a short speech by Dr George Greener, Chairman of British
Waterways, Her Majesty the Queen officially opened The Millennium Link and
The Falkirk Wheel as part of her Golden Jubilee tour of Scotland.
fly north as the wheel starts to move...
shot the first boats to descend can be seen in the caisson in the foreground. At
this point the Royal Party were back in their boat, making their way to the
the Royal Party in the Visitor Centre the first boat through the Wheel, The
Govan Seagull, enters New Port Downie Basin.
The Govan Seagull approaches the jetty in front of the Royal Marines.
The second boat through (travelled in the same caisson as the Govan
Seagull) The Victoria, can be seen in the background, right.
the Royal Party leaves after the Queen had been presented with flowers, and the
Duke with an Aberdeen Granite Stonemason's Hammer. The Royal standard flutters
in the background.
The Queen speeds off to "dinner" at Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh...
3000 of us all wait for the bus - in the rain.
Photographs: James Gentles
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Photographs: James Gentles