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New York canal experts head to Scotland for annual convention

A delegation from the New York State Canal Corporation and Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor will head to Scotland next year to take part in the World Canals Conference.

Ben Nevis forms magnificent backdrop to the Caledonian Canal
Ben Nevis forms magnificent backdrop to the Caledonian Canal

They will jon hundreds of experts, from Panama to Paris, in Inverness in September 2016 as a prestigious international conference celebrating innovative engineering, regeneration, placemaking and heritage projects pays a visit to Scotland – and construction experts, businesses and enthusiasts from around the globe are being invited to get involved.

Hosted on the banks of the Caledonian Canal, the conference will showcase the many attractions of the nation’s 137-mile canal network, from the creation of The Kelpies – the largest equine sculptures on the planet – to The Falkirk Wheel’s role as the world’s only rotating boat lift and an iconic tourism destination.

The Kelpies, Grangemouth photo/Peter Sandground©2015
The Kelpies by the Forth & Clyde Canal in Grangemouth, Scotland. 
photo by Peter Sandground

The four-day event will see international waterway experts, business leaders and global professionals celebrate innovative thinking and cutting-edge delivery in a range of disciplines including sustainable tourism development, regeneration, heritage management, climate change and engineering within the iconic landscape of the Scottish Highlands.

Steve Dunlop, Chief Executive of Scottish Canals, said: “With just under a year to go until the conference kicks off, we’re taking this chance to remind everyone that registration is now open and that we’re looking for professionals who are leading their field in everything from water management and regeneration to climate change and engineering to get in touch as potential speakers.

“The conference is shaping up to be the best yet and we can’t wait for experts and enthusiasts from around the world to join us amidst the myth and majesty of the Scottish Highlands in September.”

As the biggest event in the international waterways calendar, Inverness joins an illustrious list of past World Canals Conference hosts including the Grand Canal in China, Montreal in Canada and New York in the USA. The 2017 conference is being held in Syracuse.

The Scottish program will include a look at how The Falkirk Wheel, the world’s only rotating boat lift and an icon of engineering in its own right, became one of Scotland’s top visitor destinations.

The Falkirk Wheel is a rotating boat lift in Scotland, connecting the Forth and Clyde Canal with the Union Canal.
The Falkirk Wheel is a rotating boat lift in Scotland, connecting the Forth and Clyde Canal with the Union Canal.

Scotland’s busiest tourist attraction out with a city centre location, The Falkirk Wheel attracts visitors from all over the world keen to marvel at the working sculpture which combines modern engineering and technology with ancient principles set out by Archimedes more than 2000 years ago.

When one of the structure’s gondolas is lowered, the opposite one rises, keeping the vast, 1800 tonne boat lift in perfect balance as it carries canal barges 35 metres into the air in a matter of minutes. The Wheel’s gondolas hold 500,000 litres of water – enough to fill an Olympic swimming pool.

Incredibly, because of the design and application of balance and weight, it takes just 1.5kWh – the same power as it would take to boil eight domestic kettles – for each rotation.

So iconic is its design, the International Federation of Consulting Engineers’ (FIDIC) judged the Wheel, alongside the likes of the Hoover Dam and The Channel Tunnel, as one of the most significant civil engineering projects of the last hundred years.

For more information on the World Canals Conference, visit www.wccscotland.co.uk.

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