Our last stop of the day was in South Queensferry, on the edges of the City of Edinburgh. From here you get a magnificent view of the Forth Bridges, and as it got dark what a great photograph opportunity it was…
Status: City of Edinburgh, Village, Scotland
Eating & Sleeping: N/A
Attractions: Forth Rail Bridge, Forth Road Bridge, River Forth, Firth of Forth etc
This section of our trip was a late addition, originally we would have finished in Dunfermline, crossed the Forth Road Bridge and returned home, however I suggested Kirkcaldy as an extra part to the trip in case we had time, and then worked out by the time we had done the full route it would be dark, so my second suggestion was to stop after the bridges after we crossed, to see how they would look at night.
Queensferry was once a separate borough, but with the expansion of Edinburgh it was gradually absorbed by the city and incorporated, even though the village has retained a separate identity whilst still being part of the city. It is a historic place in it’s own right so one day we will make a return visit and explore the town, from the churches through to the Jubilee Clock that stands proud on the high street (and we did pass it on our way back to the motorway).
We have previously visited the village of North Queensferry, directly over the river from here, and you can see the lights of the village next to the far end of the Forth Bridge. From there you get a great view of the two bridges, but this side of the river is more open so for a night shot this is certainly the place to stop.
The Forth Bridge is magnificent, and opened in 1890. It was designed to look strong after the demise of the Tay Rail Bridge (between Fife and Dundee) in 1879 when it collapsed whilst a train was crossing it. See my post on Dundee here to find out more. At the time the Forth Bridge had the longest single span cantilever in the world, until the Quebec Bridge opened in 1917, however it remains the second longest today.
The Forth Road Bridge was opened in 1964, and carries road traffic over the river to Fife. Previously, a ferry ran over the Forth from here, and the nearest crossing over the river to Edinburgh was the Kincardine Bridge at Kincardine, and beyond that Stirling Bridge in the city of Stirling. To cope with demand, a new bridge was required, and the suspension bridge was opened as a Toll Bridge, before these were finally abolished in 2008.
We used the Road Bridge to cross over from Fife to Queensferry to stop and get our pictures, after taking the coastal route from Kirkcaldy through Burntisland to the bridge.
The two bridges are fantastic landmarks, with the Forth Bridge featured on the £1 coin from 2004, as well as the Scottish £20 Note introduced in 2007. They are so large, both bridges can be seen from Calton Hill in the centre of Edinburgh. The Road Bridge is struggling due to the high volume of traffic that now uses it everyday so a third bridge (which will also be a suspension bridge) is currently under construction, and you can see the lights from the construction of the support pillars just behind the current bridge.
The new bridge is called the Queensferry Crossing, and is scheduled for completion in 2016. There will then be three incredible bridges side by side across the Forth, and we will certainly be coming back to get some photographs of the trio. For an idea of what they will look like together, check out this artists impression here.
Trains cross the bridge almost constantly all day, and a few went over as we were taking pictures. Coming from the right is an East Coast Train bound for Aberdeen via Dundee, and it was a beautiful sight. The Forth Bridge is supposed to be lit up at night and I have seen many spectacular pictures after the flood lights have been switched, however we had a long journey back to Carlisle so we had to leave. We had no idea what time the lights would actually come on, or even if they would, but I am sure we will get the chance to get some even better pictures one day. See my post on our visit to North Queensferry to find out more about the bridges, and get some daylight views.
That was the end to our Scottish Road Trip, from the Falkirk Wheel and Falkirk to Alloa, Clackmannan and Kincardine, through Culross and Dunfermline, to Kirkcaldy and finally to South Queensferry. We had a great day, and it was time to leave so we set off home…