One of Scotland's biggest attractions, the Falkirk Wheel, is today celebrating visitor numbers topping 5.5million as it reveals it has enjoyed its most successful summer in eight years.
Visits to the world's only rotating boat lift were up 30% this summer compared to the same period last year (April - July) and this July has been the busiest since it first opened its doors in 2002 with over 90,000 visitors.
The Wheel has attracted customers from around the world as well as Scots who are keen to marvel in the engineering feat of the boat lift and take a trip on canal boats through the working sculpture which links the Forth & Clyde Canal to the Union Canal 35m (115ft) above it.
Operated by Scottish Canals, The Falkirk Wheel is Scotland's busiest tourist attraction out with a city centre location. It has added a number of additional attractions, such as bike hire, towpaths to the Kelpies and an interactive mini canal and water play park, to the site in order to continue to attract visitors to the area all year round.
Alasdair Smart, Lowland Waterways Manager, said: "It has been a busy and exciting summer for us and we are proud to have now had more visitors than the entire population of Scotland. Over 90,000 people enjoyed all the attractions that the Wheel has to offer this July and we hope that visitors continue to come to enjoy this amazing feat of engineering.
"As well as the opportunity to take a trip on the wheel, the surrounding area has a wide variety of activities, no matter what the weather is like. The visitor centre features a cafe as well as a history of the wheel and the canals. Outside there is water zorbing for the adventurous and a variety of woodland walks and cycle routes, including a short trip along the canal towpath to the stunning Kelpies at The Helix."
A series of events are being hosted at The Falkirk Wheel over the coming months including a family fun day, walking tours taking in the sites of the ancient Roman fort site at nearby Roughcastle, and photography workshops.
In what has been a very eventful year for Scottish Canals with the opening of The Kelpies, two majestic monuments to horse-powered heritage, at The Helix and the development of their Living on Water initiative which aims to create vibrant houseboat communities across Scotland, the continued success of The Falkirk Wheel remains the jewel of the crown in their operations.
Alasdair Smart, Lowland Waterways Manager continued: "We continue to receive positive reviews from visitors about their trip to the Falkirk Wheel who are surprised with the range of activities available on site. We are working hard to ensure that we remain one of Scotland's favourite tourist attractions, as well as being a vital engineering wonder that connects the Union and Forth and Clyde canals for the boating community."
Issued on behalf of Scottish Canals by The BIG Partnership.