Walking the Bridge

The Victorians certainly knew how to build a bridge! The fabulous red steel zig zags of the Forth rail bridge glowing in the afternoon sunshine never cease to take the breath away. The views from the road bridge or the train are fantastic, but with this walk you can take your time to stop and gaze over the bridge in its estuary setting and form your own conclusions about the third crossing.

If you haven’t walked across the road bridge before, you’ve missed a treat. It’s easy to ignore the traffic roaring past, just feast your eyes on Scotland’s largest listed building and enjoy the view from South Queensferry to North Queensferry from 50m above the firth. During the week, the pathway at the side of the bridge is full of serious cycle commuters and runners. On a blustery, sunny weekend all sorts of people take to the bridge; families out for a walk, dogs dragging their owners, cyclists heading from Land’s End to John O’Groats, weekend joggers and foreign tourists marvelling at the view.

This walk can be as short as 3.5 miles or it can be expanded into a serious walk of up to 11 miles. There are a number of variations,depending on the weather and the amount of time you have to spare. It works well on bicycle as well as on foot. At the time of writing, only the footway on the eastern side of the bridge is open.

Directions (3.5 miles). Start: Dalmeny station, Finish: North Queensferry station.
Take the train from Edinburgh to Dalmeny then from the small roundabout outside Dalmeny station, follow a path behind the bus stop signed to the Hawes Pier to emerge at the side of the Hawes Inn. Turn left to wander along the waterfront and South Queensferry’s attractive main street with its shops and cafes. Go straight until you reach the entrance to Port Edgar then turn left up the hill to the bridge. Follow the cycle path under the bridge up to the pathway and cross over to North Queensferry.

At the north end of the bridge, take the steps down and follow the road along to North Queensferry, clinging on to the edge of Fife. From the centre of the village take a left up the steep Ferryhill Road to the station ready to return to Edinburgh by train.

Directions (11 miles)Start: Cramond Brig, Finish: Inverkeithing station.
For the full trip, start from the Cramond Brig hotel car park (First bus no 43 from the city centre). This route follows National Cycle Route 76 off to the right past a lodge house and through the Dalmeny estate
passing through fields and woodlands before leading right past the front of the 19th century Dalmeny House, home of the Earl and Countess of Rosebery.

The route then goes along the shore of the Firth of Forth until the Forth bridge is in sight and you reach the road at the Hawes Pier. Follow the directions for the shorter walk until you reach North Queensferry. Here, instead of climbing up to the railway station, follow the Fife coastal Path signed from the side of Ferryhill Road. This will lead you around the Carlingnose Point nature reserve and Cruicks quarry then on to the road into Inverkeithing.

Take this road through the town until you see a sign for the railway station on your right, then take the train back to Edinburgh.

If you are on your bicycle, the coastal path is quite narrow so you may be best climbing up Ferryhill Road then enjoying the long downhill to the Inverkeithing Road.

There’s more information about organised walks here

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