The Forth Railway Bridge is one of the most famous bridges in the world and is one of the symbols of Scotland. I am lucky enough to be able to cycle to it whenever I want as it is just 13 miles from the centre of Edinburgh.
During a Monday afternoon in the office I suddenly realised that within hours of leaving my desk and computer I would be cycling across the Forth Road Bridge. A friend had invited me to cycle home with him and part of the route took us across the bridge. I was feeling a bit tired during work and was half wondering if I should cancel and do the usual Monday activity of lying out on the sofa. However, I started to feel that tinge of excitement that comes on when I am soon to embark on a cycle run. This particularl run was even more special because of the bridge. Could there be a better way to spend a Monday night after work?
The cycle route to the bridge is mostly traffic-free and on quiet roads. It leaves Edinburgh on disused railway lines. Near Crammond I noticed a roaring fire through the window of a stone cottage. There were plenty of daffodils, crocuses and snowdrops along the way. The early evening sun was strong and low.
There is a separate cycleway and walkway on the Forth Road Bridge. What amazes me is that the bridge is one of the hilliest points of the route. I would expect a bridge to be flat, but not this bridge. It goes up and up to the middle and then down again. If the wind is against you this can make it a very slow and tough cycle, but tonight the wind was behind us and we flew across. The bridge is 2.5km long so it felt like we were on it for ages, but this was no bad thing because it was more time to admire the neighbouring railway bridge.
The Forth Railway Bridge opened in 1890 and took 7 years to complete. I watched a train make its way across and it was completely dwarfed by the massiveness of the structure. It is 8,000ft long, the towers are 361ft tall and it is made from 53,000 tons of steel.
The view behind us was equally impressive with the snow covered Pentland Hills.
My friend lives in Aberdour so we continued our cycle to his house. After a good chat over coffee and a home cooked meal I went to catch the train back to Edinburgh. Aberdour train station has to be one of the best cared for in Scotland. It has its own greenhouses where the colourful plants that adorn the platforms are reared.
I was home for bedtime and was so glad that I had spent my evening this way. It made me appreciate how lucky I am to live somewhere that you can jump on your bike after work and end up somewhere amazing, even iconic.
My name is Colin Baird and I want to see all of Scotland by bicycle.