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Sailing A Boat In The Firth Of Forth
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Sailing A Boat In the Firth Of Forth

The Firth Of Forth is on the East coast of Scotland with Fife to the north and the Lothians to the south, sailing a boat here is a great fun. The Forth Estuary flows from Stirling in the west to the North sea in the East. The Estuary is navigable all the way up to Stirling where the Estuary turns from tidal sea to the River Forth.

From Stirling going downriver you pass under the Kincardine Bridge, this is where the river becomes a tidal estuary. Longannet Power Station with its very high chimney is to the North Shore and little further downriver is Grangemouth Oil refinery. You can usually see flames coming from the many chimneys burning off unwanted gases, its quite a sight a night! Continuing downriver is the small historic villages of Charleston and Limekilns to the north shore both with small harbours.Lying to the south shore the town of Boness and further east Blackness with Blackness Castle facing the sea built to repel Viking invaders and the English. All these towns are well worth a visit and have visitor mooring buoys.Remember though the Forth Estury is tidal so if you have a fin or long keel you will need a deepwater mooring or a marina berth. An alternative to this is to berth up along side a harbour wall.Or legs to fit to the boat.

Travelling on is Rosyth Naval Dockyard which builds Royal Navy ships plus you can catch a ferry from here to Belgium. Opposite on the south shore, there is a Marina called Port Edgar, near to South Queensferry, and with all usual marina facilities you can also charter a sailing boat and get sailing lessons. There is a boat chandlery and sailing boats for sale. South Queensferry is a great town and attracts many tourists.

Going down river you sail under two great bridges that span the estury, the Forth Road Bridge a suspension bridge and the world famous Forth Bridge - a railway bridge built over 100 years ago and still in use today. It may interest players of the Game Grand Theft Auto San Andreas, that Kinkaid Bridge is modelled after the Forth Bridge and Garver Bridge is modelled after The Forth Road Bridge.

If there is a good westerly blowing you can hoist the spinnaker and see how fast your boat will sail. On the Lee side of the Forth Bridge big Cruise Liners anchor and passengers are ferried to South Queensferry and bussed into the city of Edinburgh to see the world famous Edinburgh Castle - Scotlands Number 1 tourist attraction.

Once under the bridges the river widens out into a large sea estury, there are 11 islands in the Firth and Inchcolm is one of the most visited.The island has a former Augustinian Abbey which is one of the oldest and best preserved monastic buildings in Scotland. Inchcolm is connected to the Christian Missionary Saint Columba. and is sometimes called the 'Iona of the East'. There are also world war 1 and two fortifications on the east end of the Island. There is a sheltered bay to the north of the Island perfect for anchoring. There is a jetty as well but this is mainly used by the tourist boats ferrying visitors to and from the Island. On the south shore is Cramond an Island you can walk to at low tide along a causeway.A strikink feature next to the causeway is a line of concrete pylons built to stop any German u-boats and ships getting up the coast.

The remaining Islands in the Forth Estury are wildlife habitats and protected areas for nature conservation.Some of them have very large seabird and seal populations Landing on most of these Islands is precarious and not advisable but if you can't cruise around them, you can get local boat trips. A small boat operates from the Harbour at North Berwick will take groups of people round The Bass Rock a seabird sanctory and a ferry from Anstruther takes daytrippers out to the Isle of May in the outer Firth. This is the Number 1 location for Puffins in the UK.

There are many settlements down the South Shore of the Firth, the most famous and well known being Edinburgh, Scotland's capital and second largest city. I could write dozens of articles on this ancient and historic city but will leave it for you to discover the "Athens of the North" as its known as. Other towns on this shore such as Musselburgh, North Berwick and Dunbar all have harbours and are all worth a visit. On the North Shore lie North Queensferry,Kinghorn,BurntIsland,Pittenweem and Anstuther with its secret cold war Nuclear Bunker. This is just a few and all these places have harbours plus in most harbours you won't need to pay for berthing.

So I hope this article has given you a taste of the delights of cruising or chartering a boat.

Happy Sailing.


Street Talk

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