A Post About Falkirk

11 July 2017


I’ve been wondering about what to write for my Travel Tuesday posts for a while, when I realised, my home town is a tourist town, plus it’s had a bit of media recently, because the Queen recently visited! So, while I don’t live there at the moment, I thought it would be nice to write a bit about it.

I’m from Falkirk, which is located in the central belt of Scotland, near to Stirling, Glasgow and Edinburgh. It’s a pretty great location, which means that I’ve never been too far away from a city of culture. When I’ve wanted to go out and do things for a day, all I’ve needed to do is jump on a train for 25 or so minutes and I’m there!

Falkirk's name comes from 'speckled chuch', and is most famous, at the moment for the Kelpies. The Kelpies are a sort of mythical Scottish water horse. According to myth, they tend to stay near to water, usually close to rivers, lochs, etc, and they can ‘shape shift’ into the image of a horse. They try to lure you to them, but If you touch them, you’re stuck to them, and they drag you under the water to your death. So, a bit morbid, but they’re interesting. The Kelpies that I’m talking about are two giant horse heads that loom over the motorway, and are located within the Helix park development, near to the Falkirk football stadium. The horses were additionally chosen to represent Falkirk’s heritage with industry. There are two canals that pass through the town; the Forth and Clyde, and the Union Canals. Historically speaking, the paths along canals used to be what horses would walk along, to navigate boats along the canal.
These canals mean that it’s entirely possible to walk from Edinburgh to Glasgow without taking a road.

This makes for an excellent link into something else Falkirk is famous for – the Falkirk Wheel. This was a millennium project that was to replace the old ‘lock’ system. Where the two canals were once connected by a series of 11 locks, they’re now connected by this rotating boat lift. Two boats can ride it at a time, and I think my favourite thing about it is that it takes about the same energy as boiling a kettle to make it rotate! The Falkirk wheel holds a gold for the Visit Scotland Green Tourism award. There are a bunch of activities you can do at the Falkirk wheel, including a playpark for kids and water zorbing!

But both of these attractions are outwith with town centre, which makes me really sad, because the town centre has a lot of potential. So what can I say that’s interesting in the town centre? Callendar House.

Callendar House is a Georgian era house, built in a kind of French Chateau-esque style. It once belonged to the Forbes family, who were also a big part of the copper industry that Falkirk was once famed for. (Favourite facts about William Forbes, landowner of the house and estate, is that he was called ‘copper bottom’ because the copper his factories produced were on the bottom of ships, and also that during an auction, I think to actually buy Callendar House, he had a £100,000 note printed especially for the auction, in order to make an impression! How extra can you be?!)

Nowadays, Callendar House is a museum, which shows the history of Falkirk. It’s 3 floors of incredible information, given in an easy to read and interact with format. I used to go here for school trips. There’s a tearoom on the second floor which is absolutely beautiful, and all the food is locally sourced – Callendar House holds a silver in the Green Tourism award.

The house is situated in Callendar estate/woods, which is a massive woodland area where you can go for walks, cycles, runs, anything really. It’s very peaceful. If you like, there’s also a path in the woods that’ll take you to the mausoleum. You can’t go inside the mausoleum, but you can go into its grounds. It makes me so sad how badly graffitied it is. There’s also a playpark nearby for families, and a kiosk for snacks. Also in the area is a golf course, and an area for mini golf. In the summer, there is other activities for children too, like an inflatable slide, a bouncy castle and go karts! I have great memories of being a kid and enjoying them.

The last thing I want to talk about is my favourite place in Falkirk, which is about a 10 minute walk away from The Falkirk Wheel. All it really is, is a big field. However, delve a little deeper and it’s actually a site of Roughcastle Roman fort! I didn’t mention this about Callendar House, but Falkirk has Roman history. The Antonine Wall ran through the town, and passed Callendar House. Anyway, Roughcastle, is incredibly peaceful. Whenever I’ve gone there, there’s barely been anyone around. Just me, my music and a large field to walk around in. To get there, well, to get there the way I get there; walk uphill at the Falkirk wheel and follow sign posts for Roughcastle. It feels like a long walk, it feels like you’re getting set up for the beginning of a horror film, but once you get there, it’s worth it. Plus, there are numerous signs explaining the history of the area. It’s so blissful to be able to have a wander around and it’s actually the place I took my first Harley Quinnspired photos, which you can see in this post about the first Harley comic I bought!

Perhaps I should stop there, because this has gone on quite a long time, and there’s probably a lot more I could talk about.
I miss Falkirk sometimes, and I do enjoy being able to take my non-Falkirk friends around the town and give them a brief history lesson on the town. There is still a lot that needs to be done, especially to the town centre, but all I can do is hope that the situation improves because it has so much potential.

Have you ever been to Falkirk before? Where did you visit?
Also, tell me in the comments about your favourite thing in your hometown/city and why you think so.

Until next time, be excellent to each other.

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