Skip to Content

This cache has been archived.

Haggis Hunter: This hurts to archive this, as it was the first cache that I placed. Although I like the location, to have such a small container in the open is difficult and the current one is soaked inside. The actual location that this phenomenon was discovered is not far along the canal, with a plaque to commemorate it. I may take a look at placing a new cache there on the same subject?

Thank you to everyone who has visited this in the past 3 years. The original location where I had a large container is still overlooked by an empty office block. I bet the company who built them are kicking themselves at the loss they must have cost so far?



Wave of Translation

A cache by Haggis Hunter Send Message to Owner Message this owner
Hidden : 1/1/2004
1 out of 5
1 out of 5

Size: Size: micro (micro)

Join now to view geocache location details. It's free!


How Geocaching Works

Related Web Page

Please note Use of services is subject to the terms and conditions in our disclaimer.

Geocache Description:

You'll find this cache on the Union Canal, not far from Hermiston. You will have to be discreet as it is on a busy path. The easiest place to park is on Cultins Road at N 55 55.303 W003 18.141 (Grid NT 1871 7060). But first a little bit of history on the location that you are visiting.

Over one hundred and fifty years ago, while conducting experiments to determine the most efficient design for canal boats, a young Scottish engineer named John Scott Russell (1808-1882) made a remarkable scientific discovery. As he described it in his "Report on Waves".

``I was observing the motion of a boat which was rapidly drawn along a narrow channel by a pair of horses, when the boat suddenly stopped - not so the mass of water in the channel which it had put in motion; it accumulated round the prow of the vessel in a state of violent agitation, then suddenly leaving it behind, rolled forward with great velocity, assuming the form of a large solitary elevation, a rounded, smooth and well-defined heap of water, which continued its course along the channel apparently without change of form or diminution of speed. I followed it on horseback, and overtook it still rolling on at a rate of some eight or nine miles an hour, preserving its original figure some thirty feet long and a foot to a foot and a half in height. Its height gradually diminished, and after a chase of one or two miles I lost it in the windings of the channel. Such, in the month of August 1834, was my first chance interview with that singular and beautiful phenomenon which I have called the Wave of Translation''.

This event took place on the Union Canal at Hermiston, very close to the Riccarton campus of Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh.

Throughout his life Russell remained convinced that his solitary wave (the ``Wave of Translation'') was of fundamental importance, but ninteenth and early twentieth century scientists thought otherwise. His fame has rested on other achievements. To mention some of his many and varied activities, he developed the "wave line" system of hull construction which revolutionized ninteenth century naval architecture, and was awarded the gold medal of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1837. He began steam carriage service between Glasgow and Paisley in 1834, and made one of the first experimental observations of the "Doppler shift" of sound frequency as a train passes. He reorganized the Royal Society of Arts, founded the Institution of Naval Architects and in 1849 was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of London. He designed (with Brunel) the "Great Eastern" and built it; he designed the Vienna Rotunda and helped to design Britain's first armoured warship (the "Warrior"). He developed a curriculum for technical education in Britain, and it has recently become known that he attempted to negotiate peace during the American Civil War.

It was not until the mid 1960's when applied scientists began to use modern digital computers to study nonlinear wave propagation that the soundness of Russell's early ideas began to be appreciated. He viewed the solitary wave as a self-sufficient dynamic entity, a "thing" displaying many properties of a particle. From the modern perspective it is used as a constructive element to formulate the complex dynamical behaviour of wave systems throughout science: from hydrodynamics to nonlinear optics, from plasmas to shock waves, from tornados to the Great Red Spot of Jupiter, from the elementary particles of matter to the elementary particles of thought.

Down to the cache:

The container is a 35mm film canister (no surprise there then?). Although there is a stub of a pencil inside the container you are advised to bring your own. Please be carefull if it is windy, as you will see it is easy for the container or contents to get blown away. Also please be discreet whilst retrieving and replacing the cache, cyclists will appear without warning.

Additional Hints (Decrypt)

Vg'f abg uvqqra, whfg qvfperrgyl cynprq

Decryption Key


(letter above equals below, and vice versa)



53 Logged Visits

Found it 48     Write note 2     Archive 2     Enable Listing 1     

View Logbook | View the Image Gallery of 7 images

**Warning! Spoilers may be included in the descriptions or links.

Current Time:
Last Updated:
Rendered From:Unknown
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum

Return to the Top of the Page

Reviewer notes

Use this space to describe your geocache location, container, and how it's hidden to your reviewer. If you've made changes, tell the reviewer what changes you made. The more they know, the easier it is for them to publish your geocache. This note will not be visible to the public when your geocache is published.