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Tour on the Firth of Forth

This tour sounded interesting and was a good opportunity to get a little bit out of the city. From the same departure point on Waverley Bridge it was a 45 minute bus ride out to South Queensferry.

I didn’t delve into much pre-reading about the tour other than to grasp there was a boat ride and there was something about bridges across the Forth River.

As we neared South Queensferry suddenly this big red metal structure loomed. This was the rail bridge and it was immediately clear why they make a big deal of it. We pulled up near the pier and I then saw the big road bridge, a little further to the west. It was quite a striking sight.

To the right the rail bridge, to the left the road bridge, and straight ahead our tour boat

The rail bridge

The bridges play a major role in joining north and south Scotland on the east coast. The cantilevered rail bridge came first in 1890 and is 2.5km long. 70 years later the road bridge was opened. This tour would travel under both bridges and further out into the Firth of Forth – where the Forth River meets the North Sea.

The dozen or so of us on the tour shuffled from the bus down the pier to the boat.

Table top inside the boat!

We circuited under the road bridge first, then the rail bridge and beyond.

The road bridge

Cold? Yes just a teensy bit

The firth has a number of islands, two of which we saw fairly close up. This was the first.

The tiny island of Inchgarvie, below the rail bridge, has fortifications from a long long long time ago. In its day its position was very strategic. In the 1500s it was used to quarantine people with certain diseases

And this was the second. Inchcolm Island looked fascinating and if I could’ve jumped off for an hour I would’ve. It has a mix of ruins from several centuries ago to World War II.

Inchcolm has a fabulous 12th century abbey

Observation post from WWII on Inchcolm Island.

Rear view of the abbey

Other firth features…

The very large oil delivery platform called Hound Point. Crude oil is piped to here from the North Sea

Lighthouse in the Firth of Forth with Edinburgh behind

Grey seals taking it easy

As well as seals we were told to keep an eye out for puffins. Which I did, though didn’t really know what I was supposed to be looking for. As it turned out they were feeling a bit shy on this day.

We headed back. The tour commentary said that there were estimates of around 500 wrecks lying at the bottom of those waters. 500!

On the return run from Inchcolm to South Queensferry

Houses in South Queensferry near the tour departure point. Across the river is North Queensferry. Coming from NZ, this is an excellent naming scheme

All in all, worthwhile. And I didn’t connect the dots but I would be travelling across the rail bridge the next day when I was to catch a train to head north.

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