Recreational use of the Forth

There is a long history of recreation on the Forth and on its shores. Indeed some of the first yacht racing on the Forth was by miners coming off shift at Dysart. There are many boat clubs, some focussed on racing and others on day sailing and cruising. Windsurfers appreciate the strong onshore breezes that can build up and some shores are good for kitesurfing. Not all boaters use wind or engine power. There are more than twenty St Ayles rowing skiffs of the coastal rowing project based around the firth, Sea Cadets also row in the sea and there are also many kayakers. While not having the big breaks found on the north and west coasts, local surfers can quickly respond to the challenge of ‘surfs up’. There is a lot of sea angling both from boats and from the shore. On land, there are paths most of the way round the firth east of the Kincardine Bridge, many of which are also used by cyclists and even on occasion by horse riders. While some people walk for the challenge of covering distance, others walk because they are interested in wildlife or ancient monuments or the view.

The Forth is an excellent place for birdwatching both in summer with puffins and gannets amongst the specialities and at migration time and in winter. There are boat trips to several of the islands. Golf started on links next to the sea and there are many important golf courses. Not all recreation has to be energetic. Many local people take advantage of the shores of the Forth for walking the dog, picnicking, building sandcastles with the children, dining in a seafront café or restaurant, or just sitting on a rock watching the sun set.

Not everyone who uses the Forth for recreation lives locally. A considerable number of tourists arrive on cruise liners and others come by boat or car or public transport. It is an asset that is often unappreciated. On a good day, and the criteria for this depends on your chosen sport or recreation, there is nowhere better to be.

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