The Millenium Link & Falkirk Wheel

The club met last week at Ayrshire College’s Westerly Hotel where staff and students provided us with an excellent meal and waited on us with admirable attention to detail. The club was joined for the evening by a large turnout of ladies from the Ayr Inner Wheel and our guest speaker was George Ballinger, a chartered structural engineer whose presentation subject was The Restoration of Scotland’s Lowland Canals via the Millenium Link and the Falkirk Wheel.

No microphone was necessary for George who entertained his audience immensely with his own brand of humour as he took us on a virtual tour of the Millenium Canal from Bowling on the Clyde to Grangemouth in the east, near where the Union Canal links Edinburgh with the Forth & Clyde Canal via the amazing Falkirk Wheel.

George joined British Waterways in 1993 where he became Head of Engineering working, inter-alia, on the prestigious Millenium Link project which rescued the dilapidated F&C canal from catastrophic decline and created the fantastic present-day, recreational asset and the hugely successful visitor experience which is the unique Falkirk Wheel.

Various locations along the canal were singled out for particular mention and these included the likes of Maryhill locks, Stockingfield junction, Spiers Wharf and Kirkintilloch boatyard and marina.

George’s description of the planning, design, construction and operation of the Wheel was pitched at a level most of the audience could understand and he concluded his talk with a short mention of the Kelpies (which he may return to tell us more about another day).

Ron Ireland provided the vote of thanks and remarked on the range of spectacular photographs with which George had illustrated his presentation.