Pedestrians take a step into history on new Forth Crossing

One of the oldest married couples to walk the new Queensferry Crossing. Tom and Pearl Watson from Bridgend married 70 years with son Paul
One of the oldest married couples to walk the new Queensferry Crossing. Tom and Pearl Watson from Bridgend married 70 years with son Paul

Families and friends shared 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.

Stephen Paterson proposed to tong-term girlfriend Amber Carey on the new Queensferry Crossing

Stephen Paterson proposed to tong-term girlfriend Amber Carey on the new Queensferry Crossing

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.

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.

The PA system encouraged visitors to become a part of Scotland’s history and enjoy every step as thousands of pedestrians walked on to the bridge for the first time.

One of the first over from the North 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.

However, a couple from Bo’ness ended up getting engaged on the UK’s tallest bridge.

Stephen Paterson (25) proposed to his girlfriend of four years Amber Carey (23), from Avonbridge, Falkirk, next to the central tower around noon last Saturday.

It was a special moment for the pair as Stephen started going out with Amber, a nursery nurse at Kinnaird Primary, Larbert the day before he started 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.”

Amber added: “Obviously I said yes. I can’t wait to start a new chapter together.”

On Sunday, the stories continued as one of the oldest married couples walked the bridge. Tom (95) and Pearl (91) Watson, from Bridgend, married for 70 years last April not only got a ticket through the ballot but were also invited to the official opening ceremony,

Pearl is no longer able to live with her husband Tom at their Bridgend home but he visits her daily at the Linlithgow Care Home and they thoroughly enjoyed their royal date.

Paul Watson, their son, said: “It was a once in a lifetime experience for anybody but to get invited to the ceremony was absolutely fantastic. They said they felt very privileged and proud to be part of the day.

“It’s a terrific achievement to get to their age. They know how lucky they are to have each other and it was made even more special by the fact they got to do the bridge walk together.

“My dad walked it and he helped push my mum in her wheelchair across the bridge. He still walks a minimum of four miles a day so the 1.7 miles wasn’t an issue! The walking is what he puts his health and longevity down to.

“He goes to see my mum every day at the care home and that is the most important thing to him – that is what keeps him going.

“It’s great they got to share this experience.”