Four Bridges Challenge
A challenge to walk across the four main esturine bridges in Scotland in one day / 12 hours. The date selected was Saturday 28th April 2018, and we just hoped the weather would be kind to us. Although originally intending to work northwards from Glasgow, events in Inverness meant that hotel accommodation was limited / expensive on the Saturday night, so the planned route was reversed.
The starting point was the layby a little north along the A9 from the Kessock Bridge across the Moray Firth at Inverness. Meeting at or just after 8.30am, a convenient bakery provided sustinence before we walked across and back. The first bridge of the day is a cable stayed bridge opened in 1982. The sun was shining from blue skies, and despite a couple of spits of rain, it remained fine as we walked over and back. We headed out on the south west side of the bridge, before running across (not really advisable) and returning on the north east side, where there is at least a proper crossing point.
- Start Time: 9am
- Finish Time: 9.50am
After completing the first bridge, it was a long drive down the A9 to Perth, then across on the A90 to Dundee and our next bridge. Along the way we endured some showers and also stopped off for lunch, before meeting in the car park.
Tay Road Bridge
After driving across the Tay Road Bridge from Dundee, we parked in the car park on the Fife side of the Firth of Tay before walking over. Unlike all of the other bridges, the footway over the Tay Bridge runs along between the two carriageways, so a couple of cars were left in Dundee to save us retracing our steps. The bridge is also the only one without any cable supports, the shallow channel of the Tay allowing for piers across the full width of the firth, supporting the bridge deck. Black clouds loomed over Dundee and the hills beyond, but despite seeing rain in the distance, the weather remained sunny for our walk.
- Start Time: 13.25
- Finish Time: 14.00 (one way)
Forth Road Bridge
The new Queensferry Crossing has been built without any provision for pedestrians, primarily because it is expected that the older Forth Road Bridge will be able to perform this service for many years to come. However, we had to drive over the new bridge to reach the car park in South Queensferry before setting off on our walk over the only suspension bridge of the day. Blue Skies and sunshine continued to provide us with fine weather. We crossed under the bridge to walk out on the west side, enjoying views of the new bridge, and then crossed back to view the Forth Rail Bridge on our return. This was the longest bridge, and longest walk of the day.
- Start Time: 15.30
- Finish Time: 17.00
With bridge number 3 done, we had a choice of either returning over the Queensferry Crossing and following the A985 west so as to cross both the Kincardine Bridge and Clackmannanshire Bridge (by car at least) on the same day, or if time was tight, we could stick to the motorway network and head west into Glasgow. With time pressing on, however, we decided on the second option and made our various ways across Glasgow, either following the M8 all the way (with a diversion along the A8(M), or using the M74 to avoid the craziness of the city centre motorway!
The final bridge of the day carries the A898 across the Firth of Clyde. The Erskine Bridge is another cable stayed structure, and again we had to drive across it to find the car park on the north side. Although a little cloudier, the weather was still fine as we headed south on the west side of the bridge. However, with time pressing on we turned back at the landfall point instead of continuing all the way down to the steps to cross over. This saved us about 20-25 minutes, making sure we kept the record under 10 hours!
- Start Time: 18.15
- Finish Time: 18.55 one side only
A New Record!
And we had done it! All four bridges in a new record time of 9 hours and 55 minutes (there was probably no such record before!).
|Four Bridges Challenge|