Forth Bridge named Scotland’s ‘greatest man-made wonder’

The Flying Scotsman crosses the Forth Bridge in May 2016. Picture: Michael Gillen/TSPL
The Flying Scotsman crosses the Forth Bridge in May 2016. Picture: Michael Gillen/TSPL
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IT IS one of the icons of Scotland, a testament to Victorian engineering skill and ingenuity.

Now the Forth Bridge has been voted the nation’s “greatest man-made wonder” ahead of other world-famous monuments such as Edinburgh Castle and the Glenfinnan Viaduct.

The Forth Bridge from North Queensferry. Picture: Jon Savage/TSPL

The Forth Bridge from North Queensferry. Picture: Jon Savage/TSPL

The structure, which carries the east coast mainline across the Firth of Forth at Queensferry, claimed top spot in a poll organised by VisitScotland as part of the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016.

Opened in 1890, the distinctive red cantilever bridge claimed 30 per cent of the vote.

It was last year named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in recognition of its unique design heritage and status as a symbol of British engineering.

The bridge was designed by Sir John Fowler and Sir Benjamin Baker, two acclaimed English-born civil engineers, while the principal contractor was Sir William Arroll & Co, a Dalmarnock-based firm which would dominate the bridge-building industry in the early 20th century.

The bridge from Hawes Pier, South Queensferry. Picture: Gordon McBrearty/JP

The bridge from Hawes Pier, South Queensferry. Picture: Gordon McBrearty/JP

It was the first major structure in the UK to be built from steel and was considered an engineering marvel from the day of its opening on March 4, 1890.

Legend persists that Fowler and Baker designed the bridge to be five or six times stronger than it needed to be in response to public fears that it would be blown down in a storm - a fate that befell the first Tay Bridge in 1879.

READ MORE: Forth Rail Bridge “paid for in blood”

“It is no surprise that our awe-inspiring Forth Bridge has taken the top spot in this research,” said Malcolm Roughead, chief executive of VisitScotland.

“2016 has shone a significant spotlight on Scotland’s achievements in innovation, architecture and design through a wide-range of activity designed to boost tourism in Scotland.”

Other ‘wonders’ on the VisitScotland list include Stirling Castle, the Falkirk Wheel, Caledonian Canal, the Scott Monument in Edinburgh, Bell Rock Lighthouse and Melrose Abbey.

The top 10 results were:

1. Forth Bridge (30%)

2. Edinburgh Castle (13%)

3. The Kelpies (8%)

4. Glenfinnan Viaduct (7%)

5. Stirling Castle (5%)

6. Falkirk Wheel (5%)

7. Caledonian Canal (5%)

8. Scott Monument (4%)

9. Bell Rock Lighthouse (4%)

10. Melrose Abbey (3%)