Families in the Falkirk district experienced the “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity of walking over the Queensferry Crossing.
The new £1.35 billion bridge – which connects Fife to the Lothians – opened to vehicles on August 30 and drivers faced lengthy delays as tourists came to see the bridge for themselves.
However, there was not a car in sight last weekend as the bridge closed to motorists. The Queensferry Crossing Experience ballot attracted almost 250,000 applicants, with 50,000 balloted visitors given the chance to walk over the 1.7-mile long crossing last weekend.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Transport Minister Humza Yousaf were among the bridge walkers posing for selfies and talking to residents as they made their way to the starting line which was bathed in warm sunshine on Saturday.
One of the first over to the south side was Morgan Lewis Wilson (16) one of three generations of his family from East Lothian taking part on the day.
Others enjoyed a more leisurely stroll taking in their surroundings, soaking up the atmosphere and raising money for charity in the process.
Dozens of bridge walkers shared their special moment on the Falkirk Herald Facebook page. Lesley and Gordon Archibald, from Larbert, with their children Cameron (12) and Jennifer (9) raised around £150 for the Falkirk branch of the Samaritans.
Lesley wrote: “Loads of people stopped us to say thank you for choosing them as our charity.
“It was a brilliant day with hardly any queuing – everything ran like clockwork. Great experience.”
Ashley and her husband Adam Ross, from Brightons, walked the bridge with their son Callum to raise funds for Strathcarron Hospice in memory of Ashley’s mum Shirley.
Claire Campbell, her partner John Ainslie and children Scott (9) and Charlie (10), from Camelon also donated funds to the hospice.
However, a young woman got the surprise of her life when her boyfriend got down on one knee and proposed on the UK’s tallest bridge. Stephen Paterson (25) from Bo’ness popped the question to long-term girlfriend Amber Carey (23), from Avon Bridge next to the central tower around noon on Saturday.
It was a special moment for the pair as Stephen started going out with Amber, nursery nurse at Kinnaird Primary, Larbert, the day before he began working on the bridge as a draftsman in 2013.
He said: “It was a special place for both of us because I started going out with Amber the night before I started my job on the bridge. She was quite shocked, she didn’t suspect a thing.
“I was nervous doing it on the bridge but found a quiet spot at the central tower and that’s when I did it.
“It was a once-in-a-lifetime question for a once-in-a -lifetime opportunity.”
Stephen, who had tickets from the ballot for himself, Amber, his mum Jacqui and dad Alan, said: “I hinted to my dad when we got off the bus that this might be the day so that we could get some space on the bridge. My mum was raging because she wasn’t there to see it!”
Stephen who has two younger sisters Megan (19) and Kelly (16) said: “I think we are going to leave it a few years before setting a date as we are moving into a new house tomorrow (Friday in Kingglass Fields, Bo’ness, so it’s all go at the moment and the proposal was the icing on the cake.”
On Monday HM The Queen officially opened the “breathtaking” new bridge – 53 years to the day she performed the same duty on the neighbouring Forth Road Bridge. She was accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh Prince Philip. The Queen cut the ribbon to mark the opening before Red Arrows flew past and sounds and klaxons could be heard from the Flotilla on the Forth.
Then on Tuesday another community day was organised to see 10,000 locals made up of school children and community groups the chance to walk the bridge but it reopened to traffic today (Thursday) with no further pedestrian access.
But for those who did get the chance to do the bridge walk it will be something they will never forget.
lRoyal event bridges the years - page eight