Sunday, 24 September 2017

Underneath the The Queensferry Crossing #9 Cruise Diary

Cruising GreenlandIceland and Norway #9

Continuing my cruise diary...

Victorian built Forth Railway Bridge
Sunday 3rd September

It seemed all too soon for the cruise to be over but I awoke knowing that The Black Watch was cruising into the River Forth estuary, Scotland.

My husband was desperate to take a video of the ship sailing under all three bridges that straddle the River forth. I was less inclined to go down to the deck below at 5.40 a.m. to get a better view but was happy to throw on a fleece and take some shots from our tiny balcony.
Directly under the Forth Railway Bridge

It was quite magical to be out in the pre-dawn, just as the first tinges of purplish red were lighting the sky. I slipped out onto the balcony at just the right time since The Black Watch was almost under the Victorian Forth Railway Bridge.

It only took minutes to sail under that then on to the Forth Bridge and then under the brand new Queensferry Crossing. Stunning since it was also the beginning of a day that promised to have some sunshine, something lacking from our days at sea and at our destination ports.

Our timing was a little bit off on Sunday the 3rd September for being able to drive northwards over the newest Queensferry Crossing on our journey home. This was because the bridge had been open for only a very short time to traffic the week before and then closed again. It would be a few days till it officially opened to traffic on a permanent basis. From the 6th of Sept the bridge was destined to become a motorway crossing with the existing Forth Road Bridge becoming available to pedestrians, cyclists and used as a local transport corridor.
Approaching the Forth Bridge (opened 1964)

BUT...Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd September were designated days when pedestrians could have the amazing 'once in a lifetime' opportunity of walking across the bridge. The new Queensferry Crossing bridge was not built with a pedestrian lane. Once permanently opened, the bridge is only constructed to take vehicular traffic northwards on the M90 motorway. It’s the longest three tower cable stayed bridge in the world at 1.7 miles and the largest to have cables which cross mid-span, providing extra strength and stiffness to the bridge. It rises as high as 48 double-decker buses stacked on top of each other.

Looking back to both the Forth Bridge and the Forth Railway Bridge- courtesy Alan Jardine

The above photo is so much better than mine!

The bridge was built to improve congestion into and around the Scottish capital city of Edinburgh but also because the existing Forth Road Bridge (opened 1964) has been dogged with structural issue caused by a much heavier volume of traffic during it’s approx. 50 year lifetime, the use being much greater than was anticipated back in the early 1960s when it was conceived. 

As we sailed under the bridge just after dawn it was too early for the special  ‘once in a lifetime’ pedestrian access so the bridge was eerily quiet.
Queensferry Crossing taken from my balcony on The Black Watch
(structure to left is The Black Watch tender for ship to shore transfers)

The new Queensferry Crossing is a beautifully stylish bridge that twinkles in the early sunlight, a majestic shape that blends in rather than being intrusive given the very different styles of the Victorian Railway Bridge and the Forth Road Bridge.
Looking back to Forth Bridge and Queensferry Crossing - courtesy of Alan Jardine

Our cruise was at an end when we docked smoothly at Rosyth around 7 a.m. By approx. 10.30 a.m. we had disembarked The Black Watch and were headed back into Edinburgh by taxi over the Forth Road Bridge. By this time we could see some pedestrians having fun making their historic crossing of the new Queensferry Bridge.

Looking back to view all 3 crossing over the River Forth- courtesy of Alan Jardine

p.s I found out later that my nephew and his family were among the few thousand lucky people who managed to get the well prized tickets to make that pedestrian crossing. It’s an event that I think my great-nieces will remember for the rest of their lives.

All credit goes to the organisers of that pedestrian access because it seemed to be a very well run event with buses ready and waiting, ‘hop on hop off’style,  to transport the pedestrians back to the other side if they only wanted to walk across one-way.

All kudos goes to The Scottish Government and the Scottish National Party administration for their historic achievement! 


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