A Walk from Blackness Castle to South Queensferry

The John Muir Way winds its way across the south of Scotland from Muir's birth place in Dunbar and ends in Helensburgh 133 miles away on the north side of the Clyde, which was the place that Muir family set sail for the United States.

We have walked small parts of the John Muir Way, which isn't very difficult as it passes a few hundred metres from the front door of our house in Dunbar, but in September this year we decided to head out to a section of the pathway on the south bank of the Forth River, west of the road and rail bridges.

The part of the John Muir Way we decided to walk was from Blackness Castle in the west along the side of the Firth of Forth, past Hopetoun House and onwards towards the beach near South Queensferry which gave a great view of the three bridges.

We also had a view across the water towards the naval dockyard of Rosyth, where the new Royal Navy aircraft carriers are being built.  HMS Queen Elizabeth is nearly complete and will sail out of the Forth sometime in 2017, while the HMS Prince of Wales is a couple of years behind.

We parked the car in the village of Blackness not far from the 15th century castle.  Blackness had been built as the main port for Linlithgow, the residence of the Scottish kings in the 1400s.  Over the years the castle has served as a prison, a major barracks for the British army in Scotland and an ammunition depot. Blackness Castle has been characterised as "the ship that never sailed" because of its site, jutting into the Forth, and its long, narrow shape. 

The John Muir Way then cuts through woodland along the banks of the Forth which home to plenty of flora and fauna.  In the autumn sunshine parts of the woodland were picked out by the sunlight piecing through the trees. 

After a couple of mile the woodland opens up into the country park attached to Hopetoun House, the grandest of the country houses in Scotland.  Built in the early 1700s it is now a National Monument and one of the best preserved Georgian houses anywhere in the UK.

Walking past Hopetoun House were had a picnic on the beach with great views of the three bridges spanning the Firth of Forth with the new road bridge, which is still under construction, the nearest to us.

After a bite to eat, we headed back the same way as we had come but once past Hopetoun House we walked along the shore of the Firth of Forth rather than through the woodland.  The total length of the walk was around 8 miles.  We will be walking more sections of the John Muir Way in 2017.

All images on this blog were taken on the Fujifilm X-T2 and either the XF16-55mm f2.8 or XF50-140mm f2.8, which was also fitted with the 2x converter for most of the shots.

CLICK HERE for more information on Blackness Castle

CLICK HERE for more information on Hopetoun House

CLICK HERE for more information on the John Muir Way.

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Jeff Carter is an Official Fujifilm X Photographer and was named as a Fujifilm brand ambassador in June 2015. In 2016 he worked with the company on the launches of the Fujifilm X-Pro2 in Tokyo and the Fujifilm X-T2 in Paris in July 2016.  You can view his profile and gallery on the Fujifilm website HERE

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