Months ago we bought discounted tickets for a boat trip to Inchcolm via Groupon, and today we finally used them. It wasn’t the greatest weather for a cruise along the Forth, but since Forth Tours only run the trips until the end of October we didn’t have much choice.
Sitting in the car waiting for the boat to arrive we would normally have had great views of the Forth Bridge and Forth Road Bridge, but today they were just lost in a sea of grey, particularly the Road Bridge.
We made our way along the shore to Hawes Pier where we got on the boat, and it set out west under the road bridge towards Beamer Rock lighthouse.
The boat then turned east to begin heading out to Inchcolm, passing under the road and rail bridges, both of which were disappearing into the clouds.
The approach to Inchcolm was decidedly grey, with Inchcolm Abbey struggling to rise out of the grey skies and falling rain.
As we rounded the east end of the island and entered the harbour, a grey seal popped her head out of the water, and was soon joined by her mate.
After disembarking and watching the seals until they submerged and swam away, we started walking towards the west end of the island. We’ve visited Inchcolm before, but spent most of our time in the abbey itself and watching seals in the harbour, so this time we wanted to explore a bit further.
It wasn’t really exploring weather though, with a fine but persistent rain falling and seemingly hanging in the air. In the absence of any views to speak of I pointed my camera downwards.
Climbing to the top of the west end of Inchcolm gives a good view back over the island, but in this weather that was about it. Even the nearby shore of Fife was barely visible.
With considerably more nettles and rain than birds, seals or views, we made our way back past the abbey to the east end of the island, where there are various military fortifications dating back to the First and Second World Wars. Built into the hillside is a brick-lined tunnel, built between 1916 and 1917 by 576 Cornwall Works Company of the Royal Engineers.
Again, despite the various concrete structures, there wasn’t a great deal to keep us at this end of the island either, so we made our way back to the abbey at the centre. Right on cue another pair of inquisitive seals made an appearance in the harbour.
They soon had extra reason to be inquisitive, with the arrival first of an RNLI craft, closely followed by a Royal Navy Search and Rescue helicopter. It seems that someone on the island had taken a turn for the worse after suffering back pain, and couldn’t be moved by boat.
With the excitement over, both the seals and ourselves stopped watching the helicopter and started watching each other until the boat arrived.
If anything the visibility got worse on the way back as the rain began to fall more heavily.
The captain of the boat circled around the Long Craig rocks just off Dalgety Bay, a favourite haunt of seals. It’s a bit late in the season for seals, but we did still see one.
With the sky getting greyer by the minute, and the bridges still some way off, I once again turned my camera down the way temporarily.
As we made our way back towards the bridges we were passed by a gull, I think a ring-billed gull over-wintering from North America.
Rounding Inchgarvie, once the site of Inchgarvie Castle which was superseded by numerous other defences over the centuries, we passed under the Forth Bridge and back to Hawes Pier.