….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.
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.
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.
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.
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