Friday, July 15, 2011

Just get yourself a coffee

…you will need one… and come with me on my trip...I learnt so much researching the history the end too much to post here but I have shared some of it ...hoping you will find it interesting. Most of the photos will enlarge if clicked on.

We crossed the Firth of Forth by the rail bridge …

….an amazing structure built in 1890. For those who don’t know, a Firth is a narrow inlet but this one is the estuary of the Forth River. This bridge was the largest cantilever bridge in the world and now has only dropped to second position, 120 years later. It was the first ever all steel bridge in the UK…8296 feet long with the rail set at a height of 158 feet above sea level at high tide. Our destination was Hawes Pier, almost under it, in the picturesque Dalmeny.

When alighting from the train we were to follow a set of instructions given by the Ferry company ...the boys thought it was a great adventure. These led us through a beautiful wooded area with a fenced path

and down the track to where wild flowers and raspberries including white ones grew …yes they were ripe …and ready to eat.

There was also the long flight of stair, of which I spoke in my last post. During the short…ish walk, we actually stood under the massive structure.

We emerged to see the bridge in all its all its magnitude

and just across the way was the road bridge … the largest suspension bridge in Europe, when opened in 1964.

After picking up the tickets ...the internet is a great invention lol ...we all clambered onto the boat and sat on the top …a little nippy as we set sail but a great view.

Once under the bridge we came across Inchgarvie, one of the small islands said to take its name from the Gaelic for 'Rough Island' but others say it was named after the young herrings or Garvies, that shelter there in their shoals.It has had a castle or fortification resting on it from the middle ages. During the reign of James IV a castle was built, probably as a fortification.In 1497 it and some of the other islands were used as places of ‘Compulsory Retirement’ for those Edinburgh residents suffering from Grandgore (syphilis) …they were instructed to board a ship at Leith and remain on the island “’Til God provide for their health”. The islands were again utiised in the fifteen hundreds, as a way to stop the spread of the Plague in the city.In 1779 fortifications were renewed due to a threat from the American commander John Paul Jones’ fleet but in the end, were never used in anger. It is now and has been for most of the last hundred years, just a resting and nesting place for birds.

The sea air filled our lungs as we made our way towards Inchcolm, another of the small islands found in the firth.

It is not just home to birds, as some of the others are, but has two Stewards caring for it and a gift shop. Next time we will stop off and take a closer look at the Augustinian Abbey. the most complete monastic house of that period, that survives today.

It is thought that St Columba visited the inch … or island … in 567AD and around the 12th Century it was named from the Gaelic for Columba’s Isle….Innis Choluim …which then became what it is now known as...Inchcolm. It is also mentioned in Shakespeare’s Macbeth as ‘Saint Colmes ymch’…a place where the Danes buried their dead.

Today, birds on Inchcolm often lay their eggs on the ground, as there are no stoats or other predators to devour them …. and seals can be sometimes seen swimming in the surrounding water.

Nearby is the Oxcars Lighthouse....

which sits up on rugged rocks at low tide only for them to disappear completely at high tide. Sporting a large red stripe on its 72-metre tower, it stands out boldly during the day.

The engineers David and Thomas Stevenson completed it in 1886. These two were part of a lighthouse-building dynasty started by their father, Robert. The family designed and built this and so many other lighthouses over the generations but one famous member of the family did not join the firm and he was his grandson, Robert Louis Stevenson known for his wonderfully captivating stories most of us have read.

There were so many ships on the water and these four caught my eye ...I thought I would share the sights.

Soon it was time to pass back under the bridge and return to shore …the time passing far too quickly.

The boys seemed to be captivated by what they saw and just being a float …it was a wonderful …if tiring … day.

I hope you managed to get to here and enjoy some of the history of the place ….sorry its so long but I love to keep a record of special days out.

Take Care xx


Elizabeth said...

Hi Angie, a great post. I really enjoyed the photos and reading the information. Seeing the road bridge reminds me that my dad was one of the first to drive over it as he was, as a RAC patrolman, a member of the escort for the official opening ceremony. I'm sure my DH would love to do the ferry trip - he loves bridges, islands and boats. I'm sure that when the boys are grown this trip will be one of their enduring memories. A great trip well worth recording. Elizabeth x

Elizabeth said...

Hi Angie, just a quick reply - the LO is on my to-do list. Sadly, I haven't got a photo of dad with his RAC patrol bike, which is the vehicles they used at the time. Not long after that event the RAC upgraded the men to vans and I do have a photo of dad standing very proudly beside his so I'll use that. I think you have just given me the jab in the ribs I needed :) Thanks, Elizabeth x

Arkansas Patti said...

Love this post. Thanks for taking us along. That bridge was awesome and I loved how so much of your time was spent on or near the water.
That was really interesting about Robert Louis Stevenson. I love little known facts like that.

Alison said...

A lovely post Angie, I really enjoyed reading it! Lovely photo too, thanks for sharing your wonderful day out! xx

Julia Dunnit said...

Angie I'm late for your WOYWW post and just kept reading - you write beautifully of your trip and the history- and OMG what glorious photos, the walk looks almost tropical! Great day - any day for me that involves a boat trip is still the boys loved it. I know I enjoyed seeing it!

Sandra said...

What a facinating post, thank you so much.

I would also like to say a big thank you, for you very kind words, that you left me. I am finding it hard to believe it's true, but you're right - friends have helped me. And it's lovely also to find good blogging friends xx

weaverpat said...

Beautiful pictures and a fascinating post. I love history! Those bridges are so impressive. I can't imagine such a huge rail bridge being constructed that long ago. Amazing!
The boat ride looks like fun. The boys seem to be having a good time!
I think that after all that excitement, I would have come home exhausted!

Morning's Minion said...

Angie: What a wonderful outing. I'm sure I would have labored over that long lfight of steps--that is so true about holding a child's hand and trying to match their stride--or at least not fall on one's face!
I really appreciated the history bits. I'll never get to Scotland, but I do appreciate what I know of my Scottish roots.