River taxi could link historic Fife villages and Inchcolm

A study is to examine the feasibility of a new ferry service linking some of the historic Fife coastal villages with Inchcolm.

Friday, 18th May 2018, 1:43 pm
Updated Friday, 18th May 2018, 1:51 pm
Inchcolm Abbey, which dates to the 12th century, is described as the 'Iona of the East' and is a major tourist attraction. Picture: Jane Barlow/TSPL

The Forth island is already a major tourist attraction but is currently only accessible via sailings from Hawes Pier in South Queensferry.

Previous ferry services from the Fife coast at North Queensferry and Aberdour were discontinued in the 1990s.

Now Fife Council is to consider the possibility of upgrading pierside infrastructure to encourage commercial operators to offer a river taxi service from the north side of the Forth.

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The proposed ferry, which would be aimed at tourists rather than commuters, would link Kincardine, Culross, Rosyth, North Queensferry, Aberdour and Inchcolm.

The proposal will be considered by council officers after being backed by the local authority’s South and West Fife Area Committee this week.

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Councillor David Barratt, who put forward the motion, said: “The initiative is recognition of the enormous potential on our doorstep to develop coastal tourism and build on the increasing importance of tourism for the local economy. I see the proposed scope as a starting point with potential to expand the initiative to the wider Forth with the potential to link with Stirling, Falkirk and Edinburgh.

“Following the completion of the Queensferry Crossing and the awarding of World Heritage Status to the Forth Bridge, visitor numbers to the three bridges and surrounding area are expected to increase and we should ensure Fife is an integral part of this economy and that visitors see the area as a destination worth visiting and not passing by.”

Previous council plans to install pontoons at North Queensferry’s Town Pier to allow cruise ship tenders to berth ran aground in 2016 following local opposition.

A heritage campaign group lodged a formal complaint slamming Fife Council’s decision to build a pontoon rather than fully repair the crumbling pier, which dates back to 1810 and is Grade-A listed.