Sailing Takes Me Away-A Morning Spent on the Firth of Forth

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 to upper 90’s, Mother Nature has finally thrown us a bone. It is GLORIOUS outside with early fall-like temps, lower humidity, and a gentle, 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.

Four sailboats in the Firth of Forth.
A white sailboat in the Firth of Forth.
The shoreline of the Firth of Forth.
Google map showing the Firth of Forth.

It was a few months before 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 love something like that. I don’t remember what put the notion in my head, but I am so happy it did…whatever it was!

Our skipper, Colin

Colin Henderson, the owner of Edinburgh Boat Charters, was pleasant from our very first communication and helped me plan our adventure. His company offers several “pre-scheduled” trips to choose from each month, or you can book a “private” sailing tour, which they will customize to your desires. We decided to do a “private” half-day tour of the Bridges and Islands.

The morning of our sail, it was somewhat foggy, but we were excited anyway as we arrived at the point of embarkation – Port Edgar Marina in South Queensferry (less than a half-hour from Edinburgh).

Sailboats docked in the Firth of Forth.

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.

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!

Sailboats docked in the Firth of Forth.

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 got 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 considerable 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!

A man sailing on the Firth of Forth.

Here are some of the interesting things we saw on our sailing tour of the Forth:

The Bridges

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.

The red Forth Bridge.
Giant columns of the red Forth Bridge.

Forth Road Bridge:  Opened to the public in 1964, this massive bridge contains 39,000 tons of steel and spans 1.5 miles.

The Forth Road Bridge.
Forth Road Bridge
Closeup of the Forth Road Bridge.
Forth Road Bridge

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 photos of the finished product on my next trip.

Queensferry Crossing being constructed.
Queensferry Crossing-early stages of construction.
Queensferry Crossing.
Latter stages of construction.

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.

Inchcolm Abbey

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.

Inchcolm Abbey.

Oxcar Lighthouse

Oxcar Lighthouse was designed by David and Thomas Stevenson (cousin/father of author Robert Louis Stevenson) in 1886.

Red and white striped Oxcar Lighthouse.


A large seal colony has its residence in the Firth. It was the first time I had ever seen seals in their natural habitat. Extraordinary!

Three seals sunning themselves on a green buoy in the Firth of Forth.
A seal sunning himself on a buoy in the Firth of Forth.

And a few other images from that fun day…

A large blue work boat in the Firth of Forth.
A tour boat in the Firth of Forth.
Gorse covered bands and a bridge on the banks of the Firth of Forth.
Gorse covered banks.
An oil rig in the Firth of Forth.

What a truly magnificent and memorable day.  Edinburgh Boat Charters has my highest recommendation.

As always, thanks for stopping by.  I’ll see you next time!



*Featured image courtesy of Pixabay.

23 thoughts on “Sailing Takes Me Away-A Morning Spent on the Firth of Forth

  • What a fabulous experience. Amanda goes sailing in Amanda in England and in order to get the feel, I went out on a sailboat with friends off the coast of Vancouver. It was great!!

    • I have always wanted to visit Vancouver. It looks so pretty in pictures. And sailing is such a unique way to see a place. Maybe someday you’ll be able to sail there again.

  • What a wonderful thing to do, and lovely to see Mr C at the helm. You’ll have quite a different perspective of the Firth of Forth from most tourists, and indeed locals. Are you planning to take another sail under the Queensferry Crossing some time? I haven’t sailed as far as you have in the Firth but I did a dinghy course out of Port Edgar many years ago and I remember the thrill of sailing under the Forth Rail Bridge. Great seal pictures.

    • I would love to sail it again someday and even do a full day tour. But as of right now, we’re thinking of staying in Dumfries and Galloway on our next trip.

      • Oh, that’s very exciting, one of my favourite bits of the country and where I go on holiday every year. Which bit are you planning to stay in, do you know yet?

      • We’re not totally sure yet, but one of the rental homes I’m interested in is on the Isle of Whithorn. We want to see the west coast and also see as much as we can of the Lowlands. Would also like to ferry over to Arran. I would covet any suggestions, tips, and recommendation you have!

      • The Isle of Whithorn is lovely and very quiet. It’s a dead end, so you don’t get any through traffic and it has a relaxed, sleepy feel to it (as does the whole of Wigtownshire). I’ve never got the ferry over to Arran, although I had lunch in one of the island’s bays on a sailing trip and it looked like a beautiful place. There are so many nice places down there I don’t know where to start with hints and tips but if there’s anything you think I could help with please feel free to drop me a line.

  • I love the original Forth Bridge. We spent hours at South Queensferry watching the trains rattle over and workmen in orange overals clinking and clanking doing repair work. We took lots of photographs. This town is like a seaside resort when the sun is shining, very jolly, while North Queensferry is a village, very quiet and diffferent. I had this idea wouldn’t it be fun to set a soap serial about both ends of the bridge.

    • I have not been to N. Queensferry but I agree about South. It did seem to have a happy, festive atmosphere about it. And I like your idea. You should work on that idea! 🙂

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