The past week was particularly hard and emotionally draining that I needed some outlet – what better way to do this than gardening and going for walks and wander!
My dearest mother, who is in the Philippines, and who just turned 82-years-old last month, was ill and hospitalised for the whole of last week, and it had been very worrying and stressful. Being so far away, and with all that is going on around the world due to this dreaded COVID 19 virus, I couldn’t possibly visit her. Thankfully, she is now recovering. But at times like this, you always wish life can be a little easier.
We were supposed to go out on Saturday, but I felt terrible that I just decided to tend my little garden. True enough, my garden therapy worked, I felt much better after a few hours outside.
Then on Sunday, I went for a short visit to Carfin Lourdes Grotto, my favourite solitary place. There’s something about the place that whether you are religious or not, you feel some peace and serenity within you, just being there.
Tony and I then proceeded to Falkirk Wheel, a further 45-minute drive for a walkabout around the magnificent 115ft (35m) tall engineering gem. It is the world’s first and only rotating boat lift, connecting the Forth and Clyde Canal with the Union Canal. It opened in 2002 as part of the country’s projects for the Millenium.
The fantastic thing about this structure is that it only requires 22.5 kilowatts or the power of eight domestic kettles, to sail the boats through the air and transfer them between the two canals.
The Falkirk Wheel Visitor Centre was open, and a lot of people also spent their day-out there. Scheduled boat rides were running, but we didn’t go as we’re not totally confident being in an enclosed unit for an hour, even though there were limited seats and people wore masks. We still had a great time, as we watched the boats getting lifted to the air, and the two opposing arms extending beyond the central axle gave a striking sight.
The area around Falkirk Wheel also offers great walks by the canals and explore some parts of the Antonine Wall, which was built during the Roman Empire nearly 2000 years ago.
As we left the place and jumped in the car to go to The Kelpies, which was five miles away, the rain poured heavily, and we could see people in their soaked clothes and wet hair leaving the place when we got there. Soon enough, the heavy rain stopped, and the sun came out - but that’s the Scottish weather with you - it could be all seasons in one day!
The Kelpies which is part of the The Helix parkland is another exciting Attraction in Falkirk, Scotland. The two 30-metre-high horse head sculptures are the largest equine sculptures in the world. According to VisitScotland, The Kelpies have transformed the area into a five-star tourist destination. Here’s a short interesting extract from their website:
“The Kelpies represent the lineage of the heavy horse of Scottish industry and economy, pulling the wagons, ploughs, barges, and coalships that shaped the geographical layout of Falkirk. The Kelpies’ name reflects the mythological transforming beasts that possess the strength and endurance of 100 horses; a quality that’s analogous with the transformational change of the area’s landscapes, endurance of its inland waterways and the strength of its communities.”
You can find fascinating and gory stories about the kelpies written in some of the benches, walls, and grounds as you walk around The Kelpies structures such as:
‘Kelpies are said to haunt rivers and streams, usually in the shape of a horse. ... Once trapped in this way, the kelpie will drag the child into the river and then eat him. These water horses can also appear in human form.’
It was lovely and refreshing to walk around these iconic structures amid an open space surrounded by nature, especially with ice cream on your hand, of course, haha!
And by the way, for anyone interested, there is a 16-mile core route (walk or cycle) connecting the significant Attractions of the area, the Helix Park heading to the Falkirk Wheel, to Callendar Park and back to The Helix Park.
Till here for now. See you again next Wednesday.
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