Forth Bridge vs Sydney Harbour Bridge: Scaling the heights of these design classics is well worth it – Scotsman comment

The idea that ‘form follows function’ is a principle of good design epitomised by both the Forth Bridge and the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

The elegance of the Forth Bridge helped make it famous all over the world (Picture: Jane Barlow)
The elegance of the Forth Bridge helped make it famous all over the world (Picture: Jane Barlow)

These are two supremely practical structures that are also beautiful in a way that almost seems accidental, even modest.

So it is no surprise that guided walks across the Sydney bridge’s arch have become a major tourist attraction in Australia. What is surprising is that it has taken until now for long-mooted plans to offer the same experience on the Forth Bridge to come close to fruition.

But, if approved by Edinburgh Council, will it be the ‘same’ experience or, dare we suggest, might it be even better?

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On the one hand, the Sydney Harbour Bridge is actually taller at 134 metres (440ft) above the water, compared to the Forth’s 110 metres. However, while the heights are close, on length, the Forth Bridge wins hands down at 2,467 metres (1.5 miles), as opposed to Sydney’s paltry 500 metres. And what is surely Scotland’s favourite bridge is also no less than 42 years older than its antipodean rival.

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Revised plans for guided tours to top of Forth Bridge announced

Granted, Sydney’s average temperatures are considerably higher, but put on a jumper or two – and maybe some thermals and a hat that won’t blow off in the wind – and you’ll be fine.

However, we should really put aside such petty questions about whose bridge is better*. We’re sure that both offer stunning views of the surrounding area that are well worth the trip – at least for those with a head for heights.

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(*It’s ours, of course, but like our world-famous bridge we don’t need to brag about it.)

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