Falkirk Wheel and Kelpies

We picked the Falkirk Wheel as the overnight stopover.  Our app told us that it was £10 a night without services and with a great view of the wheel.  In the end, it was actually priced at £15 for 24 hours. No great problem – parked at the top of the hill with a view of the landscape and the wheel was a million dollar view, never-mind £15!

We parked us and had a spot of lunch then down the hill to the wheel itself.  Very impressive both form an artistic, engineering and architectural point of view. We had the normal conversation that we always have when we see a system like this, for example Strépy-Thieu boat lifts: namely Archimedes.  Both the canal sections on the wheel weigh exactly the same regardless of what boat(s) are in them. Takes a little thinking about, but yep, it’s true. The wheel is so well balanced that it runs with a 2KW motor. Just a few quid a day to run it.  Pretty cool!

We went on the tourist boat trip – it is a 45 minute trip on the wheel and through the tunnel section at the top.

After the Wheel, we got the bikes down and cycles along the Forth and Clyde Canal canal along to the Kelpies.  It was a great 5 km cycle. Great to be back on the bikes again.

On the cycle ride back from the Kelpies, we stopped to help some cyclists in distress: Donald and Fiona were recently reborn to cycling after a couple of years gap and had managed to get a chain well and truly jammed in one of their bikes. Our tools were not perfect for what was needed but we managed to make do and between the four of us, got the bike running again.  In the process discovering that they were fellow motorhomers and had visited a few of the places that we have been over the last year. Donald and Fiona, we wish you all the best!

Mothership and a few beers for dinner.  Next morning, the parking ticket machine was not working.  The visitor centre validated it for us and when we told them we had stayed overnight in a camper it ended up a freebie – awesome!  Next stop is Edinburgh proper.

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

The Campsite is north of the river, around 10 minutes walk from the free ferry to the station (pleasantly surprised to find that all the ferries are free)!  The campsite has plenty of spaces but we asked for an electrical hookup and they didn’t have any spaces for a whole week that had hookup. So for a whole week we are on a campsite, but off grid.  This is new territory for us – when on grid we use the electric for almost everything and save the gas.

And,  typically, two days later, we have lost a couple of bars on the habitation battery level and then we noticed that the solar system was not working.  It turns out that it’s only a fuse that has blown, so this is replaced and that takes us down another rabbit warren and the discovery that we don’t have a manual for the solar controller.  But we are up and running and will look up the code on the controller when we can get someone to give us the manual!

On the plus side – taking two days for the battery to lose a couple of bars without any charging is a good sign, so for the next few days, we use the van just like when we are on hookup – normal laptop use, plenty of TV, wifi access point etc, and the battery just bends the pin on ‘full’ at the end of each day, so no issues there as long as we get the sun for a few hours a day!  At our next stop we even charge the bike batteries and the drone, again with no issues at all, so we are going to try staying off hookup for an extended period now. When we are on paid sites it will save between 1 and 5 euros a day, which will all add up over time!

Meanwhile, back in Amsterdam: Over the next few days we pick our favourite attractions and go check them out.  They ranged from the Bodyworlds exhibition, to boat rides, to Van Gogh, Rembrandt and Heineken museums. A few things were booked up too far in advance, so we didn’t get in to see the Anne Frank house.  And a few things were shut when we visited like the fluorescent museum.

The campsite is a 20 minute walk from the ferry over to Central Station and a 10 minute walk to the Metros station, so as they are so close, we never did get around to getting the bikes out.

We lucked out with the Monaco GP: it just happened to be playing at the restaurant we lunched at, so that was the afternoon gone (and a large bar bill!).

The Van Gogh museum was great.  It’s a real shame that they have a no photos policy – it puts a downer on the day that we cannot record our trip.

From Amsterdam, it’s east towards Germany!