Forth Bridges, Scotland

bridges 3

I wanted to go and see how the construction of the new bridge across the River Forth was progressing, which meant that I had to walk underneath the Forth Road Bridge. Apart from going over it in a car I’ve rarely been up close to that one before. Actually we drove over it yesterday and had the hairiest moment ever on it as an unexpected huge gust of wind had us veering over to the other lane, nasty.

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Anyway, I couldn’t resist taking a shot of the lovely old rail bridge, through the ‘new’ road bridge, which is actually now 50 years old.

new bridge 1

The Road Bridge is a bit the worse for wear now, it has a lot to put up with wind and salt wise so it was decided that a new bridge was needed to take some of the strain of all the traffic which uses it. Above is a photo of one of the supports for the new bridge.

new bridge 3

You can see another support in the background above. And in the photo below you can see the actual bridge stretching out to meet one of the supports, eventually.

new bridge 4

And just because I love it – I took a photo of this house in North Queensferry which overlooks all the bridges. It’s an arts and crafts design house, probably dating from around 1910 or so, so not quite old enough to have witnessed the building of the original Forth Bridge (the iron railway one) but it has seen two road bridges being built anyway.
house

Forth Bridges from the river

At the risk of being repetitive – here are some more photos of the bridges. I took these ones when we went on a boat trip over to Inchcolm. As you can see I took this photo from the stern of the boat. I wanted to get both bridges in the same photo.

Both Forth Bridges 2

I took this one just as we were going under the road bridge, you can just see a bit of it.

Both Forth Bridges 1

This photo is of the underside of the scary road bridge. You can see why it’s scary because it’s see through and it’s a bit disconcerting to be able to see the water far below you as you drive across. Drivers tend not to notice it as they’re concentrating on the road ahead but I know quite a few people who are nervy as passengers because of the design.

Forth Road Bridge

If you look closely you can see some of the bridge workers in their orange overalls hanging over the side having a look at the boat as we sailed under them. They’ve got a great view but rather them than me because if they fall off they have no chance of surviving!

Forth Bridge

Click on the photos if you want to enlarge them.

North Queensferry, Fife

You might remember that I was completely cheesed off on Saturday because the weather was so horrible, wet and cold and it felt like November instead of June. So when we woke up on Sunday and the sun was actually shining we took the chance to get some fresh air without getting soaked and drove to North Queensferry for a bit of a walkabout. It’s quite a quaint wee place and has some really old buildings but there’s no ferry there now. The town, well I suppose it’s more of a village really, is situated in between the two bridges and the old ferry was also in between both. The queen which the town was called after was Queen Margaret who married Malcolm III. She often used the ferry when she was travelling from Edinburgh to the church which she had founded in Dunfermline, but the ferry was also used by Mary Queen of Scots when she escaped from the island in the middle of Loch Leven, one of her many escapes.

As you can see, these houses are situated right underneath the Forth Bridge. The owners probably bought them because they have a great view, if you’re into that sort of thing but I wouldn’t live in a house there, even if I got it for nothing!

Forth Bridge

This photo is of the Forth Bridge with a view of the island of Inchgarvie, which is uninhabited now but it has been used for centuries as a fortification and in World War II it had a gun emplacement on it. Obviously the Germans were keen to bomb the bridge but they didn’t manage.

Forth Bridge with Inch Garvie island behind

This is a photograph of the Forth Road Bridge, forever known as the SCARY bridge, as named by Joan Kyler. She’s right it is scary because as you drive along on it you can clearly see the sea underneath you, such is its design. It’s also scary because the cables are corroding and they are planning on building a new bridge because that one is having to cope with far more traffic than they ever expected it to. The two bridges are very close together and quite often there are whales swimming underneath them, but not this time, sadly.

Forth Road Bridge

The sun didn’t stay around very long and it was very windy as usual, but it was just nice to get out of the house and do a wee bit of beachcombing for some lovely sea glass.

I think the Bridge is quite beautiful considering it’s a big lump of iron.

Forth Bridge panorama

Win-terrrrr

We just had to bite the bullet yesterday and despite the horrendous weather we hired a van and made our way to the flat pack furniture shop beloved by many that is Ikea. The journey there was pretty hairy because so much snow had fallen. Duncan has taken the week off work and as luck would have it all of the schools in Fife are closed so my husband was able to drive the van. The worst nasty moment was when we crashed into a roundabout and ended up spinning around and pointing in the wrong direction but we managed to get out of that situation and carried on to Edinburgh.

Our plans for a leisurely look around the store and having a late lunch there before buying everything required were shot to bits when they announced that the store was closing in one hour not long after we got there. So it was a mad dash roung gathering up beds and bookcases and such before being chucked out and having to brave the roads again.

It was a slow journey back to Kirkcaldy with the snow coming at us, on and off. Then when we got back home we just threw some food down our necks, loaded some more stuff into the van and set off for Dundee and Duncan’s new flat.

I hate roundabouts. We skated around them and at times it was really terrifying as the van didn’t really like any change in direction, it’s just lucky that there was hardly anybody else on the roads. The snow was even worse when we got to Dundee and the van got stuck in the entrance road to Duncan’s place so we just had to unload all the stuff and trudge through the snow which was about a foot deep. Then up to the second floor flat – no fun at all.

My husband said we’re getting too old for such shenanigans, and I think he might be right. We had to dig ourselves out in the end, with the help of some very good neighbours and a dog.

The journey back to Kirkcaldy was very scary especially when a blizzard hit us and we couldn’t even see the road at times. I dreaded seeing the lights of up-coming roundabouts in the distance. But we made it, and returned the hired van unscathed.

During that marathon journey in three different counties we only saw one snow plough and it had the plough bit raised so it wasn’t doing anything. We saw no gritters at all.

We had to travel across the scary Forth Road Bridge twice yesterday, but today it has been closed for the first time since it was opened in 1962 – which just shows you how bad the weather has been. It’s quite depressing really as we have a long way to go till the end of the winter. It used to be very rare for us to get snow before Christmas but winter seems to come earlier each year now – and stays with us longer, and summer is non-existent.

This is a photo of a very disgruntled bird which appeared in my garden after our first fall of snow. I think it’s a snipe, but I’m not sure. I’ve never seen a bird like this here before, it’s definitely some sort of wading bird and the poor thing seemed to think that the snow was sand because it kept poking its enormous bill into it and was very disappointed to find nothing it could eat.