June 30

Day 41 South Queensferry to Aberdour

After today’s wonderful stroll we have arrived in the Kingdom of Fife. Our straight line distance was about 4 miles but it took us 12.2 miles to do it as the coast doesn’t play ball. It could have been a shorter more direct stroll but that would have been noisy and smelly from car/lorry/motorcycle engines.

South Queensferry is dominated by the three, or two and a bit, bridges. I couldn’t begin to remember how many times we have driven over the road bridge and thought nothing of South Queensferry.
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The Rail Bridge of Richard Hannay fame.
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The “Queen” in Queensferry was Queen Margaret, wife of Malcolm III. She set up a church in Dunfermline, where she had married Malcolm in 1070. This rapidly became a place of pilgrimage leading to increasing demand for transport across the Forth Estuary. The Queen’s Ferry, paid for by Margaret and operated by monks from Dunfermline, was the result. All this changed in 1964 when the road bridge opened. 900 years isn’t bad for a transport business.

The town is really pretty with cobbled streets and loads of tea shops. We had only just had our breakfasts so none of these delightful providers of baked fancies took our fancy.
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We had no idea only a few days ago that strollers were welcome on the Forth Road Bridge this monumental structure to the motor vehicle. Having learned that we could stroll over the thing we expected the odd sign to that effect but we looked about us for signs as to how to get onto the walking area in vain. Janet went into a newsagent and asked for directons but the assistant gave discouraging news that it was a long way and she didn’t know how. Discouraged a little we pressed on and asked another woman of a more robust character who told us that she crossed the bridge every day to walk her dog. The weather forecast wasn’t really very encouraging so we prepared by wearing fleeces and, in my case, long socks. Janet tells me that I look like a scoutmaster in them, I take this as a compliment. So off we went towards the bridge following our robust lady’s advice through the traffic.

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Arriving at the bridge the weather forecast appeared to be correct. We were assailed by a strong wind and scuds of chilly rain and decided to put on our bad weather gear. The only bit of me showing to the wind and rain were my knees and nose.
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I took loads of photos from the bridge but they really do not do the stroll justice. If you get the chance to wander over the bridge on foot you won’t regret it. The weather, having tried to frighten us off, relented very soon and we probably didn’t really need the excessive clothing we had on.
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Halfway across the bridge there is a fence on which people have attached tokens of undying love. I’m not sure why they do this but it is quite a touching sight even for an old stroller like me.
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The lady of robust character who had given us the instructions to find the bridge also advised us to take the first stair after the bridge and go into North Queensferry. She told us that there was a very good tea room and would give us strength to carry on. We found the tea room and the scones and were thankful for them.
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Our original intention had been to follow a small road towards Aberdour but, although we enjoyed the views from the bridge, the traffic noise was something of a trial so we took the Fife Coastal Path instead. The path was longer but quieter.
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The views from the path .on this side of the firth were heaps better than those on the other side. The north side has fewer trees so the panorama is much wider. We could see people on the shore doing something or other and I speculated as to whether they were after shellfish
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Continuing on we spotted a notice which made it fairly unlikely that the people we had seen were looking for shellfish or anything else for the table. The idyll was not as it first had appeared.
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One of the many joys of strolling through the landscape is to discover unexpected treasures. We found the ruined church of St Bridget the ruins are the only surviving feature of it. It was in existence by at least 11 March 1178 when Pope Alexander III issued a papal bull, calling for the founding of the “Church at Dalgetty with its appurtenances”. The church was later appropriated by the nearby Inchcolm Abbey, and in 1244 it was consecrated by David de Bernham, Bishop of St. Andrews. The interesting bit, for me anyway, is a shed in the boundary walls provided for the relatives of the recently deceased who could watch their corpses by night to make sure that they weren’t stolen for the medical schools in Edinburgh. The kirkyard was vulnerable to theft by boat so needed these precautions to ensure the safe rest of the deceased.

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St Bridget’s
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The last bit of the stroll was pleasant. Loads of people seem to find the flatness of stroll as delightful as did we.
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So there we are, Aberdour.
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It is beginning to look as though the stroll is over halfway to completion. Of course that does depend on us taking a direct route.

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Posted June 30, 2016 by admin in category "Week 6 Melrose to Glenrothes

8 COMMENTS :

  1. By Matt Clarke on

    Have you abandoned the idea of WHW? Looks like you might be heading for the ways of St Andrews and St Duthac up to Aberdeen. Beware of the midge.

    Reply
    1. By admin (Post author) on

      Hi Matt, yes we have abandoned the WHY. Everyone we met, either LEJOG or trail walkers told us that accommodation was very difficult for those just turning up. It appears that there are companies which organise the walkers, move their bags and book their accommodation. If we could have guaranteed our dates then we might have been able to fix it. We will probably have a crack at it next year and do it as a walk. So it is up through Fife.

      Reply
      1. By Janet on

        We were also drawn into Fife by the thought of not only being able to walk over the Forth Road Bridge, but over the Tay Bridge as well.
        We have no fear of midges on the East coast.

        Reply
  2. By Anne Weller on

    Oh my – now it is really nostalgic. I was born in Fife and can remember crossing the Forth on the ferry many times. Our Sunday school picnics went to Aberdour regularly in double decker buses with streamers hanging from all the upstairs windows. I don’t remember it raining often! I am really excited to find out the route you are going to take now – having been to university in Dundee whichever way you go will be a delight. Thank you and go well.

    Reply
    1. By Janet on

      We used to cross the ferry every year when we went on our annual jaunt north. Am I correct in thinking that you used to play the Minister’s Cat on your long car journeys? I seem to remember that you are the only person not in our family who has known the game.
      I’m so glad to hear of your memories of Fife long ago.

      Reply
        1. By admin (Post author) on

          We were stuck on the road to Ponte Caffaro as there had been a crash in the tunnel. Janet, myself and two Italian friends played the minister’s cat in Italian and in English. This is a good variation on an old favourite.

          Reply
    2. By admin (Post author) on

      Hello Anne, Fife is much prettier than I could have imagined, the bits we have seen so far anyway.

      Reply

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