The Bridges of the Forth and the ‘Kidnapped’ Inn

Recently I travelled to Queensferry with my friend and our kick-scooters. Since I bought my scooter it has cause much discussion and some laughter, I might add, but I have encouraged some friends to buy one as well.

We travelled on the CrossCountry train from Motherwell to Edinburgh Waverley and took a bus to Queensferry. Our journey on this day would take us over the Forth Road Bridge on our kick-scooters to North Queensferry to get some spectacular views of the Forth Rail Bridge.

Forth Road Bridge

The Forth Road Bridge was opened on 4 September 1964 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and was the largest suspension bridge in Europe at the time of opening. The total length is 2.5km including the approaches to the bridge. It joins South Queensferry with North Queensferry over the River Forth.

Forth Road Bridge
Forth Road Bridge

Side view of the Bridge

Forth Road Bridge
Forth Road Bridge

View of the Rail Bridge from The Forth Road Bridge.

Forth Rail Bridge
Forth Rail Bridge from the Road Bridge

The Road Bridge from North Queensferry

Forth Road Bridge from North Queensferry
Forth Road Bridge from North Queensferry

There are two lanes on the bridge which slopes upwards at the centre with cycle lanes and a footpath on both sides it. Most people will walk on the Rail
Bridge side rather than on the other side, which only gives views of the Royal Naval Dockyards at Rosyth.

As we ‘scootered’ over the Bridge we stopped to look over at the scenery. The cyclelane/footpath was fairly busy with both cyclists and walkers and the two of us on kick-scooters! Some trains could be seen travelling on the Rail Bridge either going to Edinburgh or Fife.

Kingdom of Fife and North Queensferry

At the other side of the Bridge we were in the Kingdom of Fife and decided to make the short trip down to North Queensferry to view the bridges from the other side of the River Forth. The sun was overhead and making photography difficult.

St Mary’s Episcopal Church

We then travelled back over the Bridge to South Queensferry to view some of the significant buildings in the town. The oldest building is St Mary’s Episcopal Church, also known as the Priory Church, which was built for the Carmelite Order of friars in the 1450s.

St Mary's Episcopal Church
St Mary’s Episcopal Church

It is the only medieval Carmelite church still in use in the British Isles, and is a category A listed building. After the Scottish Reformation of 1560 it was used as a parish church until 1635. It has been used as a place of worship since 1890 when it was reconsecrated for the Scottish Episcopal Church.

Town of South Queensferry

The town has an old-world feel to it as most of the buildings are very old and have not been modernised. The road is cobbled, which adds to the character of the town.

South Queensferry
South Queensferry

More views of the High Street

South Queensferry
South Queensferry

Jubilee Clock

The Jubilee Clock in the High Street was another feature which caught our eye. It is situated in the Tolbooth and dates from the 17th century. The clock commemorates Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee which was on the 20 and 21 June 1887.

Jubilee Clock
Jubilee Clock South Queensferry

High Street Houses

The houses in the High Street were mainly terraced and brightly painted and retained their original character.

Travelling along the footpath, we were able to get great views of both bridges and the towns on the other side of the Forth.

The Forth Bridges
The Forth Bridges

South Queensferry Harbour

The small harbour is used by two ferry companies who operate a service to Inchcolm Island. We took The Maid of the Forth to Inchcolm Island and this will be the subject of my next article

Hawes Inn

Hawes Inn
Hawes Inn where Robert Louis Stevenson wrote ‘Kidnapped’

This 16th century inn was made famous by Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson who was inspired to write his classic novel ‘Kidnapped’ while staying in room 13 in 1886.

The inn is situated almost below the Forth Rail bridge and RLS’s affection for South Queensferry is reflected in his character’s words on his return from the Highlands: “It was a fairly built burgh, the houses of good stone, many slated…it put me to shame for foul tatters”.

Another Scottish author, Sir Walter Scott, mentioned the inn ‘The Antiquary’ who called it ‘a very decent sort of place’.

The inn retains its old -world appearance – the owners once tried to upgrade it in 2001 but it caused such a rumpus that they decided to leave it as it was!

Forth Rail Bridge

The 2.5 km Forth Railway Bridge was the world’s first major steel bridge. Construction began in 1883 by Tancred–Arrol and was formally completed on 4 March 1890 when HRH Edward Prince of Wales tapped into place a ‘golden’ rivet.

The main crossing comprises tubular struts and lattice-girder ties in three double-cantilevers each connected by 105m of ‘suspended’ girder spans resting on cantilever ends secured by man-sized pins. The outside double-cantilever shoreward ends carry weights of about 1000 tonnes to counter-balance half the weight of the suspended span and live load.

Forth Rail Bridge
Forth Rail Bridge

‘Bikers Cove’

Before leaving for home, we had a cup of tea at the ‘Bikers Cove’ cafe just next to the Hawes Inn. Our kick-scooters looked a bit out of place as the other ‘wheels’ were Harley Davidson’s, Honda Gold Wings and some BMW’s.

Bikers Cove
Bikers Cove

It had been a great day with a cloudless blue sky, bright sunshine and temperatures of 23c. What more could you ask for?

Further Information

South Queensferry is Eight miles northwest of Edinburgh city centre located at the southern end of the two mighty Forth Bridges.

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