Forth Road Bridge tour ‘not for the faint-hearted’

When an invite arrived in my inbox offering a chance to try out the “Homecoming” trips up the Forth Road Bridge which will be on offer next summer I accepted without a moment’s hesitation.

A unique view of North Queensferry, as seen yesterday from the top of one of the Forth Road Bridge towers. Picture: Jane Barlow
A unique view of North Queensferry, as seen yesterday from the top of one of the Forth Road Bridge towers. Picture: Jane Barlow

Surely jumping in a lift up to the top of a road bridge would be a piece of cake - especially for a trip billed as one of the highlights of next year’s multi-million pound tourism campaign.

But an earlier attempt to allow a group of journalists to road-test the trips had already been foiled by the wind.

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And with the overnight news dominated by reports of the havoc wreaked by the storms in the south of England it was something of a surprise to find our rearranged trip was still on.

Despite bright sunny weather on the road out to the bridge, we are informed in our safety briefing - which includes a stern warning about the deadly risks of dropping anything from the top of the bridge - that the conditions are “borderline.”

In fact, by the time we are squeezed - two at a time - into the tiny lifts, along with a bridge worker, he cheerfully informs us that with gusts of more than 40 miles an hour blowing at the top of the tower, it is too windy for anyone to be actually working up there.

If the sound of the wind buffeting the structure as the lift slowly ascends gets the nerves jangling then the sight that awaits visitors when they emerge is likely to leave them having second thoughts.

At least forty steps on a steel ladder must then be tackled to get to the top of the tower - and it is not a task for the faint-hearted, even if you are wearing a safety harness to prevent you falling as you climb.

But the sight that unfolds when you finally clamber out onto the mercifully wide platform is well worth the effort on route and any lingering anxiousness about what it might feel like to be suspended 156 metres above the Forth.

On an autumn afternoon as clear as the one we were greeted by, with views on offer for miles in every direction, the skies changing dramatically before our eyes, the splendour of the Forth Bridge to our left and the traffic rumbling below, breathtaking was the only word for it.

People may baulk at the price-tag of £120 for a standard-price ticket, more than you would pay to see an iconic rock act in concert, but for visitors looking for something special to round off a visit next summer, it is likely to be worth it for the entire experience.