Forth Rail Bridge to Stirling

North Queensferry

(refer to Imray chartlet)

Bus, Pr, Pub, Rest, Rly, W.


Noise from bridge maintenance has been an annoyance in the past. If your stop is just temporary then use the Town Pier and fend well because of wash from vessels, or use the beach nearby. You may temporarily secure to a wooden raft on Railway Pier whilst seeking advice from locals. You may be allowed to stay here overnight, in which case you will dry out on soft mud yet still have access to the shore.


If you are intending to stay longer then you could navigate a crudely marked channel through the rocks into the sheltered, shallow bay NE of Railway Pier. Carefully pick your way through a rock reef following a channel marked by plastic bottles to the mud moorings then make for the NE corner and clean shingle. This offers a quiet night or a safe temporary stop.


The ‘Marina’ is more like a boat club and the toilets were awful at the last examination. Public toilets up the road were permanently closed. This once busy ferry village is interesting and well worth exploring.


A temporary anchorage offering shelter from E is just west of the road bridge in shallow water in the vicinity of the occulting light shown on the chartlet.


Hawes Pier

Facilities as Queensferry harbour.


Situated immediately W of rail bridge on south shore. Believed busy with small commercial craft serving the bridge maintenance and Hound Point Terminal. Beaches at HW. Launch fee £2.10 in and out.


Queensferry Harbour

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Situated between the bridges on the south shore. This small drying harbour can be entered –4+4HW. Ask a local boat owner for advice. Failing that, tie up using loads of fenders just inside the entrance on the north side.


The town is busy and interesting. Dalmeny Rly Stn 1M. Petrol 1M uphill on road bridge intersection.


Port Edgar Marina

(refer to Imray chartlet) tel. 0131 331 3330

Auto, Bus, Chr, Pr, Pub, Rest, Rly, SC, Shr, W, Wc.


Port Edgar Marina & Sailing School is a centre of gravity for yachting and the home of the Port Edgar YC. Petrol is not available on site (see Queensferry Hbr for Fuel, Rly etc.). Boat, sail and outboard repairs carried out.


If using the slipway to launch you may park the car and trailer on site. Site security is very good. Use the slipway anytime apart from 2hrs either side of LW.


Enter harbour at all tides, pass either side of the floating tyre breakwater. Once in, it offers shelter from all weather. Prices (2001) Dinghy launch and recover £2.40, Trailer + car parking £15.19/month. There is free use of the Marina for 4 hrs per day (daytime).


The Port Edgar Marina & Sailing School provides a Dinghy Cruising Course using Wayfarers, see here.



(refer to Imray chartlet)

Bus, Pr, Pub, Rest, SC, Shr, W, Wc.


Home of the Forth Cruising Club. Enter –3+3HW. The two beacons with traffic cone topmarks mark the protecting reef to starboard. The yellow pole marks an isolated rock. Turn to port after passing Capernaum Pier end to avoid moored yachts. Secure to a floating timber raft which is moored adjacent to a  ladder and seek advice from a SC member. A similar raft will be found further up in slightly shallower water. The bottom is thin mud.


This haven offers a good barbecue site and a peaceful night. The village is lovely. No club bar but very welcoming club members. This is my favourite in all the Forth. Cashpoint and Post Office in village store. Quality butcher next door.


Walk east on the track above the foreshore to ruined Rosyth churchyard (½M). Messrs Burke and Hare visited this place from South Queensferry to dig up fresh corpses for dissection! (by dinghy of course). The body thefts were of such concern that a secure vault was built. Explore further with your OS map, excellent views of this section of the Forth will be found.



(refer to Imray chartlet)

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Enter –2+2HW on the leading line through The Gauts ‘ravine’ or from the alternative SW direction –3+3HW passing north of the pole. Moor temporarily to the east face of Town Pier but don’t dry out as the bottom is rocky. Dry out on the west side of the pier above the lower third of it’s length or anywhere on the west beach.


The Ship Inn serves good food at lunchtime (maybe a little pricey). This is not the original Ship Inn mentioned in ‘Kidnapped’. The original is Breck House, a whitewashed house with a large porch on Red Row (the row of houses beside the beach to the east of Town Pier. Also on this Row a fine small B&B will be found.



(refer to Imray chartlet)

Bus, Pr, Pub, W, 


This is a drying harbour mostly of deep mud and gives excellent protection in a blow. It begins to flood –4HW when you can just sneak inside the outer harbour. Temporarily take the east wall but broken ladders may prevent you getting ashore. When water allows you may find a better place by going alongside a houseboat (there is no longer commercial traffic here). In the NE corner a shingle beach is an option. The inner harbour of deep mud offers the best shelter in all weather. Moor alongside an appropriate craft after studying the ladders for safety.


The ‘model’ village above is laid out in the shape of an E, built by Lord Elgin for his workers it is worth exploring. Provisions in Post Office/tearoom/general store in village.



Bus, Pub, Rest, SC, W, Wc.


Approach from a northerly direction –3+3HW. Pass between the moorings and moor either side of the stone pier. Stay away from the ruined end of pier. Dry out on small stones. The top of the beach on the west side of the pier is clean shingle. A quieter place to lie is on the west side of the wooden slip but you will have to watch and adjust lines until she touches. Alternatively anchor 1 cable offshore to the north.


The village is lovely. There are no provisions but the pub does good food. Blackness Castle, open most times is a short walk away and makes a good visit.


The bus service to Bo’ness is infrequent but handy as it allows you to visit the attractions and facilities of the town while leaving the boat safe. 


Crombie Pier

M.o.D. property.


Old Crombie Pier anchorage

No facilities.


Imray is not very helpful on this one. The ruined stone pier is situated off Crombie Point and gives shelter from the SE. Rocks give shelter from other directions to form a very nice HW anchorage. Approach Crombie Point from the west  on a rising tide when you can identify and pick your way between the rocks to anchor on shingle and sand near the HW mark.


This is a peaceful and pretty place, excellent for barbecues or just a lazy day. I’ve never seen another boat there. A track follows the shoreline and leads to Torryburn (1M) for shop and pub. 





Situated ½M east of Bo’ness harbour. Home of the Upper Forth Boat Club. Only accessible near HW due to extensive deep mud. Club members friendly and will probably point out a safe mud mooring for the night.



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This was a commercial harbour but has not been dredged since the war. Mud is said to be up to 10’ deep! It is poorly protected from a NW blow. Enter –2½ +2½HW making sure you clear the remains of the ruined pier. Moor on the north wall as shown. Moor just beyond the second ladder but still close enough to use it for access.


The town, long past its heyday, has some fine old buildings and all the facilities you’d expect. The Bo’ness and Kinneil steam railway is good fun (weekends only). The line crosses the Antonine Wall. At the end of the line take a trip underground in the Birkhill Clay Mine. 



(pronounced KOOruss)

Bus, Pr, Pub, Rest, W, Wc.


An ancient ruined pier now unusable, proves that craft of some size once called in to this shallow, rocky bay. A survey of the approach and HW anchorage is a priority as the town is a ‘must’. It is an historic ‘Burgh’ and careful preservation and restoration work make for a fascinating visit.


Longannet Power Stn Jetty


This is said to be the largest coal-fired power station in Europe. (I’ve heard similar claims for Drax, W Yorks. Both are ugly looking brutes.) Jetty for use only in emergency.


Grangemouth Docks

Not available to dinghies.


Do not dally near the busy entrance as vessels enter and leave the lock at all states of tide. 


Carron River and Forth Clyde Canal Entrance

(refer also to Imray chartlet)

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Keeping clear of Grangemouth Docks entrance enter the R. Carron not sooner than –3HW. The stone embankment, marked by stone beacons, shelters the river entrance until shortly before HW when it covers. The river which is now well buoyed is straightforward. After 1.25M you enter the scruffy looking river proper. Continue for 1/3M to the old canal entrance which is now the home of a very friendly boat club. Temporarily moor alongside a boat and take advice where to lie as the bottom dries to mud with deep gullies.


Extra pontoons have recently been installed and  chances are you will be able to take one. Apart from water and toilet it is ½M walk to Grangemouth town for the facilities. You need to make arrangements to enter and leave the secure compound of the boat club.


Unfortunately the whole of this area is visually poor, with old industrial dereliction and modern industrial grot. 


Forth & Clyde Canal


Go to to find the Forth & Clyde Canal Skippers Guides. Here you will find out the procedure for getting through, fees, navigation charts etc.



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Anchor below the bridge on either side of the channel. Or if sand spit showing anchor above the bridge as shown, out of the current. The bridge clearance at HW is 9m. Land on the slipway at all states of tide but your route ashore may be fenced off. Approach the stone pier –3.5HW and moor to either side. Bottom unknown.


The town is busy, offering most facilities. The bridge opened in 1936, it was and remains the longest swing bridge in the world. In the 1980s it was fixed closed to river traffic. 


Notes to Navigation above Kincardine


Sadly, there is no longer any commercial traffic and precious few leisure craft to be seen. All buoyage and navigation marks have been removed. The depths are such that it is necessary to use the rising tide to Alloa and perhaps use the OS maps as a guide to the deeper channels. Small ‘pows’ or creeks can be entered near HW but without local advice don’t dare to dry out because of steep mud gullies.


The Forth above Alloa takes on the characteristic of a meandering, fast-moving river. You must wait until say  –3HW to have adequate depth as there are frequent ‘fords’ separating deeper pools of water. Find an anchorage behind Alloa Inch in slacker water or Indeed within Alloa Inch via the broken sea wall on the north side.


Kennet Pans

(no facilities)


Situated on the north shore and identified by a ruined industrial building and a ballast hill on otherwise low lying land. In fact the building was a gin distillery and the remains of a wooden jetty are evident. The product was exported to London as Gordon’s Gin.


Approach –1HW to avoid deep mud and dry out on clean ballast at the top of the beach. For more shelter beach at the top of the creek between the ballast hill and the distillery on grass. The landowners in the nearest house would appreciate knowing you are there but will be happy about your presence for a tide. Safe from vandalism, peaceful and sheltered from a north or westerly blow.



(no facilities)


Near HW a small pow can be accessed. A stone landing stage will allow a temporary dry route to shore but it is privately owned and the owner may nor be compliant. Best to dry out opposite the stone jetty above steep mud on grass near HW. In the nearest house lives Mr Watson who will allow a safe stopover if asked.


The immaculate tiny village was built for estate workers, the dwellings are now highly desirable. Bus to Stirling. Fuel at Kincardine Bridge approach. Pub, PO and provisions in Airth.


Alloa Inch

(no facilities)


Is now a Scottish Wildlife Trust nature reserve. The Inch was farmed until the early 1980s. When it was abandoned the sea wall maintenance ceased and the inch floods at HW. Nature is taking it’s course and ecologists value it for its pioneer saltmarsh. The Trust allow open access. At HW the Inch floods through the broken earth bank sea wall. Although that opening provides a safe temporary anchorage out of the current the bottom is unknown and may be gullied. Access by foot from there to explore the island is barred by deep drainage ditches. For exploration or a longer stay ‘beach’ at HW on the E side close to the wooden hulk on the HW edge of the mud.


An interesting history of the Inch, which once had 7 inhabitants, the area's first combine harvester and a flock of macaque monkeys, can be read here (from p79).


Tullibody Inch

(no facilities)


Another nature reserve as above but this one is all but inaccessible due to solid reed bed.



From Alloa to Stirling knowledge is sketchy. The latest and presumably last ever Admiralty chart was of 1962. Until the coming of the railways the river was an important highway with daily traffic. Pleasure boats carried passengers between Leith, Granton and Stirling up until 1930s. In more recent times colliers loaded at the drops at intermediate points.


In 1997 I (Ed Wingfield) navigated the 9M of meander under motor to Town Quay, lowering the mast to pass under Taylorton Bridge. I didn’t manage to get ashore at Stirling or any intermediate place and returned on the same tide. This was a mistake because had I continued I would’ve been in luck. Port Edgar Y.C. cruising section now navigate annually to Stirling and above in RIBs and report good depths all the way to Stirling Rowing Club (1M above Town Quay) situated at the limit of the chartlet. SRC is situated next to a deep pool. Check in with a club officer and you will be allowed to use their steps giving easy access to the shore. Anchor opposite the club or anywhere in the deep pool.


Time your voyage upstream to begin Alloa Inch –3HW with 2-3kn tidal assistance. Begin your return trip at -½HW Stirling. Prepare early for Taylorton Bridge as the tidal assistance may be up to 6kn if the river is in spate, anchoring in the current may not be an option.