Catriona is hitting the heights with London’s number 1 tourist attraction.
London architects David Marks and Julia Barfield made the first drawing of the London Eye on their South London kitchen table in 1993. The result is the city's most popular attraction, set on the south bank of the Thames. While it resembles a ferris wheel, the creators point out that their engineering marvel is in fact based upon a bicycle wheel.
It took seven years to complete the Eye, using 1700 workers from five countries. Nothing of this scale had ever been built before.
Everything had to be barged in along the Thames, with the added logistical problem of working with the tides. Sometimes as little as 40cm was clear under the bridges. Getting the Eye upright took more than a week.
London Eye is literally the way the world sees London. Each day people travel 135m above the River Thames for a half-hour ride, which gives a bird's-eye view of the city's famous streets, churches, palaces and monuments, a scene which has been growing since Roman times. On clear days you can see for 40 kilometres to Windsor Castle.
Passenger capsules turn within circular mounting rings fixed to the outside of the main rim, allowing 360 degree viewing. The main elements of the hub and spindle are cast steel. The spindle was produced in eight sections and the hub is a rolled steel tube forming the spacer that holds them apart.
The compression foundation is under the A-frame legs. It required 2200 tonnes of concrete and 44 concrete piles, each 33 metres deep. The tension foundation which holds the backstay cables used 1200 tonnes of concrete. There are two types of cable, wheel and backstay.
It takes 200 people to keep the Eye operating each day. The most important and time-consuming job is cleaning the 32 capsules inside and out. Ventilation systems are cleared regularly and fingermarks and chewing gum removed.
London, the capital of England
The British Airways London Eye half-hour ride costs around $25 for adults and $15 for children.
British Airways flies daily to London, starting at $2394 from Melbourne, $2404 from Perth, $2405 from Darwin, $2406 from Brisbane, $2412 from Adelaide and $2414 from Sydney, per person.
Please note prices are valid at time of filming.
British Airways London Eye
Riverside Building County Hall
Westminster Bridge Road
London SE1 7PB
Ph: 0870 5000 600
Fax: 0870 990 8882www.ba-londoneye.com