Hello again, my friends. Are you all having a nice weekend? I sure am. Just when My Plaid Heart thought it couldn’t physically handle another weekend of Virginia temperatures in the mid-upper 90’s, Mother Nature has finally thrown us a bone. It is GLORIOUS outside with early fall-like temps, lower humidity, and a nice, cool breeze. It’s short-lived, though. Pity that the dreadful temperatures are set to return next week. Pity indeed.
In keeping with the aforementioned cool breeze, I’d like to invite you to come along with me today as we set sail on the brackish waters of the estuary that meets the North Sea – the Firth of Forth.
It was a few months prior to one of our trips to Scotland that I decided to do something bold and adventurous. I reached out to a sailing company that I found online – Edinburgh Boat Charters – to inquire about chartering a sailing tour of the Firth of Forth. Sailing was an experience I had never personally had and I knew that Mr. C would absolutely love something like that. I honestly don’t even remember what put the notion in my head, but I am so very glad it did…whatever it was.
Colin Henderson, the owner of Edinburgh Boat Charters, was pleasant from our very first communication and helped me plan our adventure. His company offers a number of “pre-scheduled” trips to choose from each month or you can book a “private” sailing tour which they will customize to your desires. We chose to do a “private” (because Mr. C and I are just introverted like that) half-day tour of the Bridges and Islands.
The morning of our sail the weather was rather foggy, but it would lift as the morning went on. We eagerly arrived at the point of embarkation – Port Edgar Marina in South Queensferry (less than a half hour from Edinburgh).
We got a little lost at the docks, but once we located the yacht, Colin greeted us and we climbed aboard for coffee, tea, and pastries. Our handsome Scottish skipper oriented us to the boat and schooled us in the requisite safety information (which was especially appreciated by me because of my fear that my perpetual unsteadiness might at some point hurl me overboard – and it wasn’t for lack of trying, I assure you!).
Informed and securely fastened in our flotation devices, it was finally time for anchors away. Slowly at first, we motored away from the docks, orienting ourselves toward the open waters, and assessing the wind which would eventually take us out to sea. I remember my heart was aflutter and I’ll bet Mr. C’s was too!
Then in a whirl, it was ropes, cranks, and the snap of the canvas as it married itself to the breeze. We were off.
After we were settled in and on course, Colin generously gave the wheel over to Mr. C – who happens to know a thing or two about the mechanics of steering a boat – and he ended up sailing for a huge chunk of our half-day tour. Mr. C and I have been together for a quarter of a century and I don’t think I have ever seen him as happy as he was that day.
Here are some of the interesting things we saw on our tour of the Forth:
The real stars of our sailing tour were the three massive bridges that connect Edinburgh with Fife. They are a source of enormous pride for the people of Scotland and it’s easy to see why.
Forth Bridge: The iconic Forth Bridge, which opened in 1890, is the freight and passenger railway bridge that links Edinburgh to Fife. It spans just over a mile, stretching over the Firth of Forth.
Forth Road Bridge: Opened to the public in 1964, this massive bridge contains 39,000 tons of steel and spans 1.5 miles.
Queensferry Crossing: This new, recently opened bridge is a replacement for the Forth Road Bridge. It stands 164 feet higher than its counterpart! I can’t wait to get pictures of the finished product on my next trip.
(Ignore unsightly gap – the horror. Darn editing.)
Anyway, I blogged about the bridges in more detail last September. If you’d like to read more about these awesome structures, please click here.
Located in the Firth of Forth on Inchcolm Island, Inchcolm Abbey is the most well-preserved group of monastic buildings in Scotland. As it happens, I recently wrote a blog about this site as well. To learn more, please click here.
Oxcar Lighthouse was designed by David and Thomas Stevenson (cousin/father of author Robert Louis Stevenson) in 1886.
A large seal colony has their residence in the Firth. This was the first time I had ever seen seals in their natural habitat. Extraordinary!
And a few other images from that fun day…
What a truly magnificent and memorable day. Edinburgh Boat Charters has my highest recommendation.
I will end by leaving you with the link to one of my favorite old tunes from back in the day, “Sailing” by Christopher Cross. Enjoy and have a wonderful week.
See you next time.