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The River Forth flows from the mountains of Scotland into the North Sea

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The River Forth

Image source: Geograph: Richard Webb Cropped to fit | License

The River Forth was Always an Important Barrier in Scotland

The River Forth, which is also known as the Forth River, rises at Loch Ard in the Trossachs in the mountains of western Scotland as two small streams and finally becomes 17 miles wide before emptying into the North Sea after flowing for about 114 miles. As it flows towards the sea it forms much of the boundary between the Scottish counties of Stirlingshire and Perthshire. At Stirling the river widens from its relatively narrow beginning with several crossing points, and becomes tidal, and it is here that the last (seasonal) ford of the river exists. As it becomes the Firth of Forth (for the last 48 miles) the naval base of Rosyth is on the northern side and Edinburgh's commercial port of Leith and the town of Grangemouth are on the southern shore. The River Forth has several small islands in the Firth which are popular with bird-watchers and tourists, and the island of Inchcolm has the ancient ruins of a 12th century abbey.

The River Forth has always been an important barrier between southern Scotland and the rest of the country. In early times there was only one passable road northwards through the surrounding marsh land. This road passed through Stirling and played an important part in the movement of armies in the battles of Stirling and Bannockburn.

The first Forth Road Bridge was opened in 1936 at Kincardine and was a preferred alternative to using the ferries at Queensferry and Granton. The famous Forth Bridge (a railway bridge) was opened in 1890 and both have contributed significantly to Scotland's trade and tourism.

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