Preston Island


I took a walk round Preston Island today. It’s just a nice easy 4 1/2  mile circuit starting from the historic town of Culross on the Firth of Forth.

Curiously enough, you need neither a boat nor a bridge to reach it. Preston Island is only an island in name and is in fact around 500 acres of land which was reclaimed from the Forth in the early 1800s by local entrepreneur Sir Robert Preston. It’s well attached to the shore.

Upon this land he created his coal mines and salt works. Although it’s now over 150 years since the fires went out on his salt pans, the old works are still well preserved and well worth a visit.

In Scotland, salt making and coal mining went hand in hand as you needed at least 6 tons of coal to produce just 1 ton of salt – hence the reason, in times past, salt was so expensive.

“Industrial salt” was produced at a number of locations along the shores of the Forth and today I had the notion to learn a bit about the old industry and to visit some of these old salt works starting with Sir Robert’s on Preston Island.

Willie Shand

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