Sunday, September 12, 2010

Inchcolm Island

The other day I took a day trip with Brecht, another one of the program's students from Belgium, to a nearby city, South Queensferry, as well as a boat ride to an island in the Firth (inlet) of Forth.

South Queensferry, a 40 minute ride on a local bus from Edinburgh, is noted for having two parallel bridges spanning the gap between the shores. One bridge was built in the 1960s. The other, the more famous one, was built in the 1890s. The bridge looks as it does because when the previous bridge collapsed in the 1880s, in response they built a bridge that was incredibly overdesigned. Thus, it looks very bulky and even medieval-like in my opinion.

The forth bridge:

You can see both bridges here:

Now the bridge is just used for trains:

South Queensferry (a puny little town really):

After a stroll around South Queensferry, we took a 45 minute ferry ride to one of the islands in the bay (there are 4 or 5), this one called Inchcolm. They dropped us off and let us explore the island for a few hours.

Inchcolm was first said to be the residence of a hermit in the 12th century. He built a stone structure for shelter, which was then used as a foundation for a larger abbey which resided there for centuries. The abbey was subjected to various attacks by English throughout the years. The abbey was incredibly well preserved due to the simple fact that it was not easily accessible, and it supposed to be the best preserved old abbey in Scotland. You can really tell they knew what they were doing when they built it, as it seems not only really sturdy, but even with open windows, each room shelters from the wind perfectly. The daily life of someone living there said that they prayed at 430am, 7am, noon, 3pm, 6pm, and before bedtime at 830pm. Damn. The island was mentioned in MacBeth.

Anyways, during WWII they built on the island some structures as well as some gun cannons. It was interesting to see grass on top of all the buildings, which was definitely to prevent planes flying overhead from detecting anything. There is also a tunnel, which was probably designed as a shelter. If there were any planes flying into this part of the UK, the island was probably the first thing they would fly over before reaching the mainland.

Part of the island, and the abbey, from the boat:

Walking up to the abbey:

Incredibly narrow stairwell between tower, mid level, and basement:

They must have been really short people (that, or we're really tall, but that's probably called evolution):

From the tower:

Gun Station:

Buildings disguised with grass covered roofs:

Gun Station:

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