IT HAS been one of Scotland’s most instantly recognisable landmarks for more than 125 years.
Now, less than a year after being granted World Heritage status, the Forth Bridge is set for a new starring role – if the nation’s leading stunt cyclist Danny MacAskill gets his way.
MacAskill, one of the country’s new tourism ambassadors, has revealed his ambitions to film a spectacular new video on the iconic rail bridge.
He described the prospect of performing his famous daredevil stunts on the bridge as one of the few remaining challenges he wants to undertake in his home country.
The Skye-born cyclist has yet to approach Network Rail – the owners and operators of the bridge – over his bid.
But he admitted he was much more drawn to the listed structure than the new Queensferry Crossing, which is due to open later this year.
MacAskill was speaking after helping to launch VisitScotland’s first global tourism drive, which is inspired by key character traits of the country and its people, including guts, soul, determination and fun.
The former Edinburgh bike shop mechanic made his name in 2009 with a film shot on the streets of the capital over several months, which has now been seen by 37 million people.
MacAskill, 30, used the Forth Bridge as a backdrop for his 2010 Way Back Home video, part of which was filmed on Inchgarvie island in the middle of the Firth of Forth.
He was given permission to perform stunts on the ramparts of Edinburgh Castle and has ridden on the iconic Finnieston Crane on the banks of the River Clyde in Glasgow.
He said: “I keep thinking that I’ve kind of done Scotland now. But I’ve had my eye on the Forth Bridge for a while. It’s on my list. It’s always hard with stuff like that as health and safety comes into it when you are up on a thing like that.
“It is one of the most iconic landmarks in Scotland. I’ve cycled underneath, on Inchgarvie island, for one of my films and I’ve obviously gone over it many times, although I’ve never cycled over the road bridge.
“I’ve got lots of different ideas that I work on with my friends. I really like to keep things fresh. If it is a good idea I will work really hard on it.
“My riding has changed a lot over the last few years. When I lived and worked in Edinburgh, I was very focused purely on the riding.
“But now I’m definitely thinking about what kind of concepts will work for a film and what could people relate to, rather than just the tricks, whether it is a backdrop, something that has a bit of fun and makes them laugh, or makes them feel scared.
“I’ve been based in Glasgow for the last few years, but I always love coming back to Edinburgh. It’s always very nostalgic as I spent literally thousands of hours out on the streets riding my bike.”
However, MacAskill may have his work cut out to persuade Network Rail to let him loose on the Forth Bridge, which became the nation’s sixth Unesco World Heritage site last year. The first major structure in the world to be made entirely of steel when it opened in 1890, the 53,000 tonne bridge now sees more than 200 daily train crossings.
A spokesman for Network Rail said: “The Forth Bridge is a busy operational structure and is in use 24 hours a day.”
Among its many appearances on screen was in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1939 thriller The 39 Steps, in a scene added to John Buchan’s story by the director Charles Bennett.