x

Culture

Exploring the Islands of the Firth of Forth

A group of islands that includes spectacular nature reserves, a spooky 15th-century prison and even the rumour of hidden ancient Egyptian treasure, the Firth of Forth is an area of outstanding natural beauty with a fascinating history. Located within driving distance of The Balmoral and best explored by boat, here’s what to look out for on a sailing trip around the islands.

Setting sail from Port Edgar, the journey begins in the shadow of the iconic Forth Bridges, which tower above you as drift out into the estuary. Then, rising up out of the waters, you’ll be met by the stark sight of Inchgarvie island, its weather-blasted fortifications an austere reminder of its history fending off everyone from pirates and Vikings to German forces during both World Wars. Meaning ‘rough island’ in Gaelic, it’s now an RSPB nature reserve and there are some great opportunities for bird watching around its shores.  

Sailing further out towards the North Sea, you’ll stumble upon Inchgarvie’s littlest sister, Inchmickery. This tiny, uninhabited island was the setting for Scottish writer Iain Bank’s novel, Complicity. From here, see if you can spot the sweeping curve of Inchcolm and its beautiful medieval abbey.

Continuing along the coast, The Lamb has perhaps the most unusual story of all the islands. In 2009, this unassuming rock was bought by celebrity psychic Uri Geller, who was convinced that it held ancient Egyptian buried treasure.

The most famous of the islands, Bass Rock can be heard almost before it’s seen, thanks to the constant swirl of seabirds that surround it. Its sheer rocky cliffs once made it the perfect prison, used by Cromwell as a convenient place to lock up Royalists. Peppered with deep, dark caves, with a single white lighthouse at its centre, Bass Rock is famous for its enormous population of over 150,000 gannets—a truly unforgettable sight.

Explore the Islands of the Forth of Firth abroad a luxury boat on an incredible Scone & Crombie Sea Experience with Ossian. To reserve, email adventure@ossian.co or call +(44) 0131 240 6978.