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Edinburgh Islands

Queensferry - North Berwick

From South Queensferry a small town at the three bridges over the Firth of Forth river to North Berwick A small town on the estuary of the Forth with golden sand beaches and great shops, restaurants, and activities with boats leaving frequently to tour the islands of the forth and  their historic sites. Also the seals, dolphin and many species of seabirds.

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The Bass Rock has more than 150,000 nesting Northern Gannets and is the largest single rock gannetry in the world. The naturalist David Attenborough called it the 12 wonder of the natural world. The Lighthouse was first used on the Bass Rock o the 1st November 1902.  There are ruins of a Chapel dedicated to Saint Baldred, a monk said to have lived a life of solitude on the Bass Rock till his death in 606 A.D. The Chapel was built circa 1540 by the Lauder family who were the owners of the Bass Rock from 1316. In 1671, Charles I claimed the Bass as Royal Property and was leased out .

The Bass Rock became a prison between 1672 and 1701. In 1691 four Jacobite prisoners escaped from their cells and occupied the Bass Rock for three years and fought of all the king's me who tried to reclaim the Rock. With help from the French Navy the 4 were able to raid the coastal areas of Fife and East Lothian.  The occupation by the 4 finally ended in 1694 as food and fresh water had ran out. This was unknown to the King's men and the 4 negotiated to leave the Rock, only if they were given a pardon to walk free. This was agreed and they left as free men.  The Bass Rock remained a State Prison until demolished in 1701 at that time . In 1706, the crown sold the Bass Rock to the Dalrymple family who are still the owners.

Bass Rock Lighthouse and Castle ruins


This is a volcanic island created around 335 million years ago. John de Vaux a Norman nobleman built Castle Tarbet on the island of Fidrain the 12th Century. There is a lighthouse on it built in 1885 by Robert Louis Stevenson’s family as were most lighthouses around the British shores. Robert Louis Stevenson often visited the beaches at Dirleton the area known today as Yellowcraigs. Robert Louis Stevenson’s inspiration for his novel Treasure Island came from his days looking at the Island and dreaming of pirates on the high seas.

Fidra Island Boat trips East Lothian


Lamb Island is a uninhabited island between the Bass Rock and Fidra Island. Baron Camilo Agasim-Pereira of Fulwood & Dirleton the previous owner sold the Lamb to Uri Geller in 2009. Uri Geller  believes the layout of the 3 islands Fidra, Lamb and Craigleith  match the three stars known as the 3 kings on Orion’s Belt which are linked to many ancient fables from Scottish and Egyptian history.  This Island is found between the islands of Fidra and Craigleith. Uri Geller believes that Lamb hides Egyptian Treasure.

Lamb Island Boat trips East Lothian


This Island can be found close to North Berwick's harbour and its claim to fame was having the largest colony of Puffins in Britain numbering almost 30,000. It was also used in the breeding of rabbits for food. Craigleith is owned by the Dalrymple family. 

Craigleith Island Boat trips East Lothian


The most easterly Island in the Forth and studies have revealed over 240 species of bird and 60 varieties of seaweed. This Isle was a black place when the Danes murdered ministers of the church who had tried to escape the plunder of the Danes in the mid to late 800 AD.

Isle of May Forth Boat Tours

The Oxcar Lighthouse

The Oxcar Lighthouse was built by the Stevenson's and its light was seen for the first time in 1886.

This was the first Northern Lighthouse to be automated in 1894. The Oxcar  stands on a rock near to the Island of Inchmickery. In the background is the Pentland Hills and the largest artificial ski slop in Europe

The Oxcar Lighthouse Forth Boat Tours East lothian


This uninhabited Island was used during both World War I and World War II the island was used as a gun emplacement and the structures still remain in place.

Inchmickery Island Boat trips East Lothian


This island is the only island that can be accessed at low tide by foot. The causeway runs at the foot of a row of concrete pylons which were constructed as a submarine defence boom during the Second World War.

Cramond Island Boat trips East Lothian


L’Île de Dieu. (THIS ISLAND OF GOD)   and   L’Île des Chevaux (THIS ISLAND OF HORSES). As Inchgarvie, Inchkeith was used as a quarantine island in the 14th and 15th centuries. It was occupied by the English in the 16th century and Italian mercenaries fighting for the English in the 16th century. Mary of Guise renamed the island L’Île de Dieu.

The soldiers also nicknamed it L’Île des Chevaux It is currently owned by Tom Farmer, founder of Kwik fit Garages.

The Lighthouse that stands on the island was first used in 1804.

Inchkeith Island Boat trips East Lothian


Inchcolm Island is just off the Fife coast near to the towns of Burntisland and Aberdour. This Island may have been occupied since the 6th century when St Columba is said to have visited the priory. A monesrery was built on the Inchcolm Island by David I, keeping a promise of his brother Alexander who had been saved on the island during a storm. There has been an Abbey on the island since 1235. Danes are said to have buried their dead on the island by payment in gold to King Macbeth of Scotland and a tombstone of the 10th century stands as a memorial to the Danish leader. The Abbey and island are looked after by a caretaker for Historic Scotland and is open to the public.

Inchcolm Island Forth Boat Tours East lothian
Inchcolm Island Forth Boat Tours East lothian


 (The Island Fortress)

Inchgarvie  Island was a gift from James IV to the Dundas family which gave them the rights to build a fortification (Castle) on the Island to protect the sea ways from invaders. Inchgarvie island has been used for many things, in 1580 was an exile for the Edinburgh plague victims and the Castle was a prison from the early 1500 to the late 1600s. Inchgarvie Island supports the leg of the Forth Rail Bridge and it's history is said to go back to 832 A.D. when Angus / Oengus mac Fergus (II) King of the Picts killed Athelstan the Anglian King in a battle and to warn off intended invaders, he put Athelstan's' head on a spike on the Island for all to see.

Inchgarvie Island Boat trips East Lothian
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