As my knees began to wobble, I took deep, slow breaths. I felt afraid. I’m sure you can see why, as your eyes adjust to the platform perched atop the Forth Rail Bridge…
Our party stood at the bottom with the Bridge Representative, awaiting the outside lift, which was to takes us to the viewing platform at the top. Over 360 feet up. I was unsure what the experience would be like, although knew I would enjoy the stunning views across the Firth of Forth. It reminded me of standing underneath the Eiffel Tower, when I visited Paris for my 25th wedding anniversary celebrations.
As guardian of the Forth Bridge, Network Rail has a vision of opening up this magnificent structure and symbol of Scotland to the public for the first time. With the 125th anniversary of its opening on the horizon and a World Heritage submission being considered by UNESCO, the timing couldn’t be better. www.forthbridgeexperience.com
For a long time I had lived with a fear of lifts but in the last couple of years this fear had gradually been diminishing. Today I wondered if it would return in full force and I would have to face the reality of not being able to treasure such a special experience, as we were about to receive, in celebration of its 125 yr anniversary.
The wind was already blowing through my jumper, making my teeth chatter, as we stood at the bottom and marveled at its glorious rust colour and its cantilever structure. I began to regret leaving my coat in the charming little North Queensferry hotel just around the corner. As we learnt about the construction workers, whom on falling, if they didn’t die straight away, meant the families did not get any financial recompense. Tough times I thought myself. Trying to keep my mind busy.
The clunking gears brought the lift to a halt. We all piled in. My knees feeling decidedly shaky by this point, I decided to stay close to our tour guide. Upwards we rose – I expected it to get colder and windier but it wasn’t really. Although due to the shape of the posts the lift was attached to, I felt a little unnerved, as the lift seemed to lean backwards as it rose.
“What’s it like working up here.” I asked the lift operator. Still trying to distract my mind from the lift ride. “Just like any other job,” he told me. “Someday’s it’s great. Other days you’d much rather be at home!” Wise words, I thought.
The Firth of Forth expanded in front of us and I took a peek down at the buildings disappearing below. Hoping we wouldn’t go crashing to our deaths! Jolting to a stop at the platform, we stepped out to the most magnificent view. We had been warned not to drop anything, as if small enough, it would whistle straight through the plank gaps to the train tracks below. As if on cue a train thundered through. For our visit the weather remained calm and we were informed that the attraction if opened, would do so what ever the weather. There would be a bridge walk, something a little more challenging for the adventurous or a lift tour. Similar to what we were experiencing.
The other option-I found out on our return to terra-firma was a visit to the Orocco Pier restaurant in South Queensferry. Which shares stunning views of Forth Rail Bridge and is located in the picturesque little village of South Queensferry. The food here is very good too. The crab cakes I had for a starter were delicious and the staff friendly.
Queensferry is 37 minutes away from Edinburgh by car or 14 mins by train.
Monday to Thursday. Noon – 7pm. Friday Noon-5pm
Two course: 10.95. Three course:13.95
Other menu options available.
Tel: 0870 118 1664