Armin's World Tour of Scotland

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Facts of the Day:
Date: 20/August/2002
From: Carronbridge
Via: Edinburgh
To: Melrose
Miles: 87
Midges: 50 (Estimate)
Weather: Mostly sunny (contrary to the forecast)
Mood: Very good

Picture of the Falkirk WheelHaving taken the train to go to Edinburgh the previous day, I went by car this day and visited a few other places on the way. My first stop was The Falkirk Wheel, as the brochure claims a reinvention of the wheel. At the interchange between the Union Canal and the Forth & Clyde Canal it transports boats in a rotating boat lift.Picture of the Falkirk WheelPicture of the Falkirk Wheel The structure is 35 metres (over 100ft) high and uses two giant caissons attached to the wheel to lift boats up to the Union Canal while at the same time lowering boats to the Forth & Union Canal. The visitor centre explains the idea and the physics how the wheel works, the basic being the Archimedes Principle explaining that anything that floats displaces its own weight in water. This means that the wheel is always balanced and very efficient to run. It is possible to take a boat tour using the wheel, unfortunately they were already fully booked when I arrived. But just watching the wheel rotate (it takes about 5 minutes to turn) was already worth the visit.Picture of the Forth Rail BridgePictures of the two Forth bridges From the Falkirk Wheel I continued to an older engineering feat: The Forth Rail Bridge. It was built from 1883 to 1890 using 50,000 tons of steel and 6.5 million rivets for the roughly 1.5 miles covered by the bridge. The best view is probably from the neighbouring road bridge, built from 1958 to 1964. It is not possible to walk on to the rail bridge, but there is a walkway on the road bridge (the picture on the left was taken from it). Allegedly the workmen painting the rail bridge never stop, when they have finished they start again on the other side. With new paints being developed and used this is not true any more (if it ever was). South Queensferry (the road bridge replaced the ferry when it was opened) seems to be a quite nice village with a cobbled road along the coast, unfortunately I didn't have enough time to explore it further.

Picture of EdinburghPicture of SupermanFor the afternoon I returned to Edinburgh, main goal being a visit to the Museum of Scotland. I parked near Calton Hill and started to make my way over to the museum. On the Royal Mile hundreds of artists tried to attract attention for their shows again, even Superman was there promoting his show (no idea what it was about, just liked the picture). I survived the slalom around the hundreds of people trying to give me flyers for their shows and arrived at the museum.Picture of the Museum of ScotlandPicture of engineering exhibits The Museum was opened in 1998 in a very nice new building. It gives a fantastic overview over the history of Scotland from the very beginnings (the formation of the landscape) to the 20th century. I only had just under two hours to visit the museum, but could have easily spent three times as long to see everything. I'll return on another visit. From Edinburgh I made my way to Melrose,Picture of the George & Abbotsford Hotel where I had a reservation for a room at the George & Abbotsford Hotel, a few minutes walk from Melrose Abbey.

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