Happy Fiftieth, Forth Road Bridge!


Fifty years ago, in 1964, my parents took me as a wee boy to see the opening of the Forth Road Bridge the “Guid Passage”. It was quite an occasion, too, marking the end of the old ferry crossing. When it opened, this was the longest suspension bridge in Europe, and fourth longest in the world. About a mile and a half long, its cables contain around 30,800 miles of wire!

Almost a month ago, on September 13, I was back to join in with the celebrations again as that same bridge clocked its half century. And, boy, did it have some party!

The celebrations began almost two weeks earlier when a collection of touring and racing cars belonging to the late Jim Clark crossed the bridge. The celebrations ended in style, too, with a River of Fire as 2014 of us crossed from one end to the other carrying flaming torches.

Accompanying the torch bearers were pipes and drums, as well as a group of Vikings from Shetland.

The climax of the event was followed at precisely 10.06 p.m. (1060 m being the bridge’s span) with a fantastic fireworks display. It was some display, too, with over 12,000 fireworks lighting up the full length of the crossing, and all set in time to precise music.

I’ve watched a lot of spectacular firework displays, but I can honestly say that this one managed to top them all. It’s certainly one party I’ll not be forgetting for a long time.