Visit: 29th November 2016
During our LBS trip to Scotland’s capital I was able to persuade two of my fellow students – Gokul and Neill – to join me on an excursion to see this rather esoteric World Heritage Site. The Forth Bridge is only 20 minutes from Edinburgh city centre by rail, and because the railway line is exactly what the bridge was built to carry, our first sighting of it consisted of brief glimpses of girders as we passed along it.
Gokul had been sceptical of the idea of coming to see a not-exactly-ancient bridge, but once we arrived at the Firth of Forth he was quickly converted. The train pulled into the picturesque village of North Queensferry, which is on the northern bank of the Forth, leaving us to make our way down the hillside to find a vantage point.
The Forth Bridge is the UK’s second most recent addition to the list (after Gorham’s Cave Complex in Gibraltar), having been inscribed in 2015. When it opened in 1890 it was considered a marvel of engineering for its employment of the novel cantilever system of distributing weight, and for its sheer length (541 metres). Over time it has joined the thistle and the Irn-Bru can as a symbol of Scotland (and it is surely no coincidence that the tangy drink’s famous strapline claims it is “made from girders”).
Considering this was Scotland in late November the weather was remarkably good. We walked down this seaweed-covered jetty to get a better angle of the bridge. Since 1890 it has been joined by two further bridges across the water: the Forth Road Bridge and the under-construction Queensferry Crossing. But the iconic cantilever towers of the rail bridge will remain the sight that people come to see.