Wheel and Tunnel

It’s funny but I’m not sleeping well in hotels. I’m waking up in the night with sweat-soaked sheets.  I’ve been opening the windows where I can but maybe the rooms are still too hot or maybe I’ve simply become accustomed to sleeping in a cold damp tent!

Walking the tow path I met one of the work men that I passed yesterday; he was strimming the

verge of the canal. We chatted briefly but deciphering the local accent is becoming a problem. But he told me that he walks 24 miles strimming the Union Canal then starts on another.  He said he loves his job and it keeps him fit.

I waved at the boat whose occupants I met last night in the Inn where I was staying – the bearded man from New England ran to the front of the boat and shouted best wishes and good luck to me.  I thought that they would catch me up before the Falkirk Wheel but didn’t see them again – maybe they passed me when I stopped for brunch in Linlithgow.

Before arriving at ‘The Wheel’  I was unexpectedly let through a canal tunnel which was dimly lit and quite spooky- my first stretch of subterranean path on the walk.

‘The Wheel’ is a wonderful example of excellent engineering – I watched it for an hour or so as it quietly and effortlessly transported boats from the elevated Union Canal to the lower Forth and Clyde Canal. It’s the sort of machine that I wished I had designed and one that my dad ( a science teacher) would have used in lessons as an example of simple physics  being used in a practical way. For more information check out Falkirk Wheel.

Despite the rain I covered a good distance today but have had to book into another Inn in the lovely-sounding town of Bonnybridge. The locals are being very friendly in the bar but to be honest I am struggling to understand a word anyone is saying.

I have been looking at the maps and think I can cut a few miles of my planned route whilst also avoiding some of the northern Glasgow suburbs. So  be warned Malcolm ( the map master); I may be taking a short cut to the West Highland Way. I also feel like a rest day but will wait until I’m somewhere nice  and the weather is bad – it’s a shame to waste a good walking day.


Whilst writing my notes the bar got quite busy, apparently because of ‘the game’ . I have no idea what game it is but the 5 large television screens in the bar seem to have a lot of people watching (and screaming at) them.

Those of you that know me well will realise this is not my ideal environment. I know nothing about football and am going deaf so don’t particularly like noisy pubs – throw in an accent that I can’t understand and you will realise why I tried to retire to my room early.

That is until my key card didn’t work in the door. I had to go back down to the bar and try and attract the landlady who was busy due to ‘the game’.  She came and tried the card and agreed with me – it didn’t work.

Eventually she gave me a free pint to stall me whilst she found a man who could sort things out.  So I am back in the noisy bar – I think ‘the game’ has finished and that there is a lesser one on now.  A polite chap (the manager?) has just handed me a new card and explained that the girl had given me one for the wrong room and he seemed confident that the new card will work………

Fingers crossed.


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