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Forth Bridges Festival

They are two world famous icons, a brace of engineering triumphs that span the waters of the River Forth. The Forth bridges also play an integral role in the Scottish psyche and, of course, adorn many a postcard. The year 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the Forth Road Bridge and the good news is that there is going to be a mammoth ten day party that we are all invited to.

Queensferry has been a crossing point for centuries and indeed it is named after Queen Margaret, who first commissioned a ferry so that pilgrims could make their way across the Forth to Dunfermline back in the 11th century. It was not until the Victorian age in 1890 that a mighty rail bridge took shape, the unique triple cantilever Forth Bridge rising from the river in a sturdy web of iron.
&copy Copyright Robin McKelvie

While the Forth Bridge may be the most famous of the siblings the Forth Road Bridge is remarkable too. Imagine it in a red hue and it is as dramatic as the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, which it bears more than a passing resemblance to. When it opened in 1964 this suspension bridge was the largest in Europe, a claim it held on to for the next half decade. Its construction came at a price, almost £20 million pounds when the support roads were included and tragically seven lives.

The 2014 festival comes under the massive ‘Year of Homecoming’ banner. Officially called the ‘Forth Bridges Festival’ it will run from September 4-13. There will be myriad events, both part of the main programme and 'affiliated events'. Onve of the biggest official events will be on September 7 when a flotilla of vessels (from yachts and ferries through to tall ships and even warships will gather in the Forth. You can watch from any point for free from Port Edgar Marina east to the Hawes Pier.

&copy Copyright Robin McKelvie

Amongst the other highlights are a slightly surreal attempt to stage the world’s largest ever sit-down lunch ('Scotland Welcomes the World to Lunch') on Saturday 6. Thousands of people will be able to take part (you will need a ticket) and if you go along there is a good chance you will be part of a new Guiness World Record! The menu comes from celebrated Scottish chef Nick Nairn. On this unique culinary extravaganza Nairn said: "The Forth Bridges are iconic symbols of Scotland around the world and I'm thrilled to be involved in the festival. Scotland is going through a food and drink revolution at the moment and this is a brilliant chance to celebrate our fantastic natural larder against the amazing backdrop of the Bridges.

&copy Copyright Robin McKelvie
The Forth Bridges Festival will culminate in a spectacular fireworks display on September 13 and a torchlight procession across the bridge. Whether you fancy joining in a torchlight parade or the world's largest ever sit down lunch the Forth Bridges Festival offers something special for everyone to mark the very special fiftieth birthday of a very special bridge.

For more information just see Forth Bridges Festival

© Copyright Robin McKelvie