Day 21 – The Three Forth Bridges

Edinburgh to South Queensferry, 27Km

I like Edinburgh. There are probably many interesting city walks exploring the streets and buildings and history of this great city. But the John Muir Way tries to create a wilderness experience in the suburbs, seeking out every dull footpath behind allotments, along dreary streams and patches of brownfield wasteland, surrounded by security fencing. I prefer to see houses and people.

Eventually I left Edinburgh behind and crossed the Dalmeny House estate, home to the Earl of Rosebery. The JMW was confined to woodland until we reached the shores of the Firth of Forth and that’s the point where the day’s walk was worthwhile. The Forth is one of the rivers here and Firth means estuary or coastal waters. What you get is a large area of mudflat and the little island of Cramond with its causeway.

However, the real spectacle makes a dramatic appearance when you finally leave the woods and you see three of the engineering wonders of the modern world: the Forth Rail Bridge (1890), the Road Bridge (1964) and the Queensferry Crossing (2017). The first sight of them takes your breath away and by the time you are standing underneath the rail bridge you are in awe of the engineering skills that created them. The rail bridge is still the longest cantilever bridge in the world and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s perpetual need for repainting was legendary until 2011 when an epoxy paint promised a 25-year respite, according to the guidebook.

My hotel is between the rail and road bridges so there’ll be more tomorrow and another engineering marvel on Sunday.

Proud parents
People wandering across the causeway to Cramond Island in the Firth of Forth
Dalmeny House, Tudor Gothic 1817 featuring Napoleonic memorabilia
The Forth Bridge (rail)
The Forth Road Bridge and, beyond, the new Queensferry Crossing.

8 comments on “Day 21 – The Three Forth Bridges

  1. I never cease to amaze at the beauty of the Forth Bridge. It is a magnificent testament to the skills of the three great Victorian engineers who were instrumental and paramount in its design and construction.

    • Every visitor here in South Queensferry has come to view the bridges. All the bars and restaurants have viewing platforms or you can sit on a bench watching the setting sun lighting up the Forth Bridge. The other two aren’t bad at all

  2. I bet Isambard Kingdom Brunel would have been quite jealous of that amazing cantilever bridge. Shame he didn’t get to see it!
    I can’t believe the swans have 7 cygnets! I was overjoyed when one pair of swans on the River Dart had 3 this year. Must be something in the Scottish water.

    • I was delighted too. It’s rare for so many to survive. I’m glad I just got the photo before they passed me

  3. Vicky Williamson

    Kia Ora, Tim, continuing the kilt theme, in 1966 I got a summer job at W. Bill Ltd (no longer exists) of Old Bond St. It specialised in Shetland knitwear and Pringle Cashmere knitwear, tweed fabrics and tartan. That summer the fashion for French teenage girls was short Shetland sweaters and mini kilts. The sweater finished somewhere between the bottom of the bust (often no bar in existence!) and the top of the navel. The mini kilts finished at the base of the buttocks. There was a lot of bare flesh. The girls arrived in droves as day trippers. Kia kaha, Vicky

    • Excellent! Please send photos so I can sneak one in between the bridges. I can’t remember very much about the 1960s because I was too young rather than too stoned. I worked for Top Shop in 1985 and remember setting up a spreadsheet for a buyer to calculate planned margin. The shorter the skirt, the more you could cut from a roll of fabric, the less stitches you needed and the margin went up. Everyone liked it except the customers. Top Shop no longer exists.

  4. After Vick’s post I forgot all about the bridges…

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