THE decision to close the Forth Road Bridge until the New Year will cause havoc for motorists – Chris McCall mulls over the impractical alternatives
The Forth Road Bridge will be closed until the New Year, a move which makes commutes between Fife and the Lothians much more arduous.
You can cross the Forth in most conditions but the journey might not be the most comfortableSteve Haddow, Shadow Marine
Additional bus and rail services will be provided for the duration of the bridge closure, but if you’re looking to get across the Firth of Firth quickly, then you can – at a (considerable) price.
HIRE A BOAT
Steve Haddow, owner of Anstruther-based Shadow Marine, is not expecting many commuters to take up his services while the bridge is closed. But hiring a boat to take you from Fife to Edinburgh is feasible - at a price. “We do full boat charters, for 10 people,” he said. “From Anstruther to Leith, for example, that would be £450 for one way. Weather is the big factor at this time of year. You can get across in most conditions but it might not be the most comfortable of journeys.”
HIRE A HELICOPTER
If you can get yourself to an airfield - or have a large enough garden - you can hire a helicopter to take you to Edinburgh Airport. There is one major downside, however. PDG, the largest commercial helicopter rental service in Scotland, does not fly in the dark - meaning your morning commute would need to set out after 8.30am during December. PDG helicopters can accommodate five passengers, allowing the £1,500 + VAT cost to be shared.
Swimming in the open sea in Scotland is not advisable in winter. But the narrowest point of the firth between North and South Queensferry can be crossed in warmer months. Each year, an organised race is held, with 66 brave souls making it across in August from the Town Pier on the Fife side and Hawes Pier in Lothian. The winner, Fergus McLean, completed the 1.4 mile distance in 25 minutes. Strong currents, jellyfish and regular ships are just some of the obstacles Forth swimmers must contend with.
WAIT FOR THE OPENING OF THE QUEENSFERRY CROSSING
Can you afford to avoid crossing the Forth for another year? Work on the Queensferry Crossing is reportedly ahead of schedule and on budget, with a completion date of December 2016 pencilled in. If you’ve been employed for 26 weeks, you have the legal right to ask for flexible working – so you could work from home for the next 12 months. You’d need a very laidback employer to pull that one off, though.