Our man on a bike investigates The Helix

Boat trips at The Helix in the shadow of the Kelpies.
Boat trips at The Helix in the shadow of the Kelpies.

The Helix Around Town Tour is a circuit of Falkirk mostly on footpaths and canal towpaths.

It is well worth exploring for its attractions and utility.

Falkirk Council’s leaflet on the HArTT, A Place to Cycle, is out of print but is on their website. Its map is necessary as this winding route lacks signs.

The northern half of the tour has burgeoning wildlife on the River Carron and associated community woods wetlands.

The lovely carved oak Celtic circle seating in Abbotshaugh Woods, artist unknown, and George Ralston Wyllie’s sculpture, Antoine the Legendary Engine, at Falkirk High Station are examples of the public art on the tour. The Dawson Mural is another, brightening up the Carron Road underpass.

In the clock tower entrance to the Carron Ironworks one can see carronades and cannons that saw service at Waterloo.

Surfaces vary from smooth tarmac to mud on the Union Canal towpath. 
This can be avoided by using the well drained Forth and Clyde Canal towpath from the Falkirk Wheel to the Helix. The Wheel Café is conveniently halfway round from the Helix. Another shortcut from Camelon through the town centre to Callendar Park also avoids the mud and usefully passes a long-established bike shop.

On the south side, Callendar Park, the hidden gorge of Westquarter Glen with its 
waterfalls and the Jupiter Urban Wildlife Centre have a delightful variety of habitat, plant and animal life.

Paul Shave