Earlier this month while Emma and Alessio were here on holiday we embarked on a boat trip around the Firth of Forth. The whole voyage is very interesting but the highlight for us was to make a short visit to the small island of Inchcolm, which lies close to the Fife coast, just off Aberdour. You can see the island from a distance from quite a way out, but it is only when you get close that you can make out the main attraction – the remains of the medieval Abbey. Here are three views of the Abbey from three sides.
The Abbey as you can see is still a pretty substantial complex. Its origins date back to the 12th century and was part of the Augustinian family. The remains are now in the custody of Historic Scotland. For more about the Abbey see here. Below are some photos of the inside of the Abbey. The first shows the outlines of a now destroyed building, then Alessio climbing up one of the interior walls and lastly Emma appearing at the top of a very, very narrow staircase leading to the tower.
The Abbey is full of beautiful windows which provide interesting views to the outside. Here are some of these windows. The first gives an indication of the wonderful colours of the stones in the Abbey. The others show two of the windows.
The island is quite small and easy to wander around, though it is pretty rocky and hilly. The name means Columba’s isle, though there is no connection with the saint. Below are some photos to give an idea of the varied scenery of the island. During the 1st and 2nd World Wars the island was occupied by British forces as part of the defence of Edinburgh and Rosyth. The first photo was taken from the top of the tower and shows the eastern part of the island which housed many of the military buildings. You can also see the nearby lighthouse and the port of Leith in the distance. The following photo shows part of the remains of the single track railway which was used to haul equipment up to the defences. The final photo in this sequence shows the western part of the island and gives a glimpse of the vast and varied bird life on the island.
The other great attraction of the island is its wildlife. Inchcolm is a haven for birds and seals. All kinds of sea birds can be found on and around the island. Not being an ornithologist, I could not tell one from the other. However our guide on the boat did help us out with useful information. The concluding three photos show some of the wonderful wildlife to be seen and enjoyed on the island. The first shows a seagull eyeing up a baby seal sunbathing on a rocky outcrop. The second shows two seagulls on look-out, while the final photo shows three baby puffins in the waters off the island.