More about the Forth


The main islands of the Forth are:

(Local authority)
Tullibody Inch (Clackmannanshire)
Alloa Inch (Clackmannanshire)
Inchgarvie (Edinburgh)
Inchmickery (Fife)
Inchcolm (Fife)
Inchkeith (Fife)
Cramond (Edinburgh)
Fidra (East Lothian)
The Lamb (East Lothian)
Craigleith (East Lothian)

Eyebroughty (East Lothian)
Bass Rock (East Lothian)
Isle of May (Fife)
Preston Island was once an island but is now surrounded by reclaimed land. The island is now part of the Torry Bay Local Nature Reserve near Culross in west Fife. In the early 19th century the island supported a coal mine and salt pans.

The Isle of May is a National Nature Reserve (NNR). For more information visit

Inchcolm has an historic abbey, gardens and a sandy beach. The island is visited by boat trips daily in the summer. For more information


Bridging the Forth has challenged engineers and others over the years. The main bridges (Kincardine Bridge and the Forth Road Bridge and the Forth Bridge (rail)) were, at the time of their completion, world class engineering triumphs.  The global importance of the Forth Bridge was formally recognized in July 2015 when it was inscribed as a World Heritage Site.

Across the Forth Estuary itself there are (currently) five bridges. From Stirling going downstream they are:

Taylorton Bridge – opened in 1985 to take the new A91 road across the river just downstream of Stirling. Yachts and larger boats can no longer use the upper reaches of the river because the bridge does not allow enough clearance for masts.

Clackmannanshire Bridge – The new Upper Forth Crossing at Kincardine was completed in 2008 and was officially opened and named the Clackmannanshire Bridge by First Minister Alex Salmond on Wednesday 19th November 2008. The bridge crosses the Forth just upstream of the existing Kincardine Bridge and takes traffic out of the village of Kincardine.

Kincardine Bridge – opened in 1936. When it was built it was the longest swing bridge in Europe and ships could pass underneath to the port of Alloa. The bridge is still a vital road link but the central swing section is no longer in use.

Forth Road Bridge – opened in 1964. This replaced a car ferry between North and South Queensferry and when it was opened it was the longest suspension bridge in the world outside the USA. The bridge is a vital link in the transport routes in the east of Scotland. Traffic usage is much higher than when it was first planned in the 1960’s. You can find more information on the Forth Bridges website road bridge page.

Forth Bridge – opened in 1890, the bridge celebrates its 125th anniversary in 2015.  It was designated as a World Heritage Site in July 2015.  Arguably one of the most famous bridges in the world it was built to take the rail link between Edinburgh and the north and east of Scotland. Still in use today its cantilevered shape is instantly recognisable. Each tower is 104m (340feet) high. Construction was started in 1883 and it took 7 years and 55,000 thousand tons of steel to complete. You can find more information on the Forth Bridges website rail bridge page.  Archive information on the bridge is available on a special page of the Network Rail website.

In addition to the five existing bridges a new one is being built beside the Forth Road Bridge. The bridge was named in a public competition and the new name Queensferry Crossing was announced in June 2013.

In December 2007, the Scottish Government announced its intention to build a cable stayed bridge to the west of the existing Forth Road Bridge. The 1.7 miles (2.7km) structure will be the longest three-tower, cable-stayed bridge in the world    The new bridge will carry two lanes of traffic in either direction.  Wind shielding will protect the crossing from high winds.

The Principal Contract to build the new bridge and connecting roads was awarded to the Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors (FCBC) consortium. Additional contracts were awarded to Northern Ireland’s John Graham (Dromore) to upgrade of the M90 in Fife, north of the bridge and a joint venture between Irish contractors Sisk and Roadbridge to upgrade to the M9 south of the bridge. These have been completed.

The FRC project is currently on track to be delivered in 2016 and will replace the current Forth Road Bridge as the main crossing for cross-Forth traffic. The Forth Road Bridge will then become dedicated for public transport use, cycling and walking.

You can find more information on the Forth Bridges Queensferry Crossing page and the Transport Scotland website.

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