Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Maid of the Forth

What to do on a beautiful hot sunny day in Edinburgh, when the Forth is sparkly and inviting? Get on a boat and take a trip to an island? Sounded good to Alien Wally and Mags, so that’s exactly what they did on the weekend!

The Maid of the Forth ferry takes passengers to Inchcolm Island, site of the ruins of Inchcolm Abbey, a beautiful and peaceful place to visit. The island was also used as a military base during the wars, and, while the island as a whole is lovely, the contrast between the ugly functional military buildings and the abbey is quite jarring.

Alien Wally and Mags made the pilgrimage to the top of the bell tower at the abbey to see the panoramic views from the top. The narrow spiral staircase at the Scott Monument had nothing on these steps – narrower, spiralier, followed by a straight steep staircase with steps about the size of half of Mags’ foot. And in case you don’t get the implications of this, let Mags just remind you that she has very small feet….

The trip was also an opportunity to get up close and personal with the Forth rail bridge. After some serious neglect of the bridge in the 80s, it now costs £20 million per year to keep the corrosion under control, hence the constant scaffolding covering parts of the bridge. A standing joke in Scotland compares any endless project to the painting of the Forth bridge… as soon as you get to the end, you have to start all over again at the beginning.

And on a final note, a health message… what has to be the world’s largest “no smoking” sign, seen on the oil tanker currently loading up with supplies of North Sea oil pumped to the Forth for distribution worldwide.

No comments: