The Queensferry Crossing Experience was an event held at the weekend to celebrate the opening of Scotland’s newest bridge. 50,000 people were given the opportunity to walk across the Queensferry Crossing and myself, my husband and one of our best pals just happened to be one of the lucky ones.
Entering The Queensferry Crossing Experience Ballot
Back in June, my husband Ross turned to me and our friend David and asked if we wanted to be entered into the Queensferry Crossing Experience ballot. “Sure,” I answered. After all, it would be pretty cool to take part in what was being dubbed a once in a lifetime opportunity. As the bridge has no pedestrian access no-one else will be able to walk it after the Queensferry Crossing Experience event finishes.
We were successful in the ballot and received our official invite in mid-August. I loved it! Inside the invite was a pop-up bridge, how cool! You can check it out over on my Instagram here. I don’t know why, but at this point, I got an idea in my head; I wanted to walk the bridge!
Considering Walking The Queensferry Crossing
I hadn’t used my wheelchair since my visit London in May of 2016 and the idea of it wasn’t thrilling me. We weren’t sure if I could take my scooter on the buses and we figured the wheelchair would be much easier. The problem in my mind surrounded the fact I can’t self-propel my wheelchair (I’m not physically able and the option isn’t there even if I was). I wanted to cross the bridge independently. So I convinced myself I could walk it and just pay for it majorly afterwards.
This was based on the fact that on good days I’ve been able to do a little bit more walking. However, I was forgetting that I’ve also very recently had a bad flare. Oh, I also conveniently forgot that I have only ever walked a third of the distance safely in one go (and not regularly I might add!). The bridge is 1.7 miles long!
Sometimes the denial is strong with this one! Luckily, those around me gently reminded me about my limitations, how much I would suffer (if I even managed to complete the walk) and the benefits of using my wheelchair. I came round to the idea and it was most definitely for the best!
The Morning Of The Event
We got up early and headed to our allocated travel depot for just after 9 am. I have to say I was not thrilled with the early start as I struggle in the mornings. The sun shining helped though and once there, I started to feel quite excited about the event.
We parked the car in the multi-storey car park (I don’t have a blue badge) and made our way over to the short queue. I was immediately impressed by the event staff. I was greeted with a friendly welcome and informed of the best way to access the queue in my wheelchair.
The Queensferry Crossing Experience Was An Accessible Event
The event was accessible and the staff went out of their way to ensure that everyone had a good experience. They were very accommodating of individual needs and I noticed that they happily moved someone who had tinnitus away from one of the speakers to a quieter area. The only question asked was if the new area was quiet enough.
The speakers were playing music and event information and they were loud when you were up close to them. As we queued for our bus to take us to the bridge, we all commented that it almost felt as though we were in a queue at a theme park.
The queue for the bus did take a little bit of time. It turned out that the scanners at security (which scanned a bar code on the ID badge we were each given) weren’t playing ball. Had it not been for this I can imagine there wouldn’t have been much of a queue. Other than this small blip, the event was very well organised and everything went smoothly.
Three Bridges Now Span The Firth Of Forth
Boarding the bus was a straightforward process with no issues and, again, the staff were helpful and welcoming. By the point I boarded the bus, I was glad of my wheelchair. I would have been tired out before I even began from standing and waiting.
Once on the bridge, we were greeted with the impressive view of the Queensferry Crossing itself. Plus, a view of the other two bridges crossing the Firth of Forth; the Forth Road and Rail bridges. There are now three bridges spanning the same stretch of water.
The old Forth Road Bridge is to be re-opened and used as a public transport corridor. It can also be crossed by pedestrians and cyclists. The Queensferry Crossing will– come October– become a motorway for the remaining traffic.
Seeing The Queensferry Crossing Up Close
I know nothing about bridges but even I could see that it is an impressive feat of engineering. My husband is a civil engineer and met our friend David when he was studying engineering at university. So, the two of them were geeking out a bit.
Along the way, there were signs listing some of the facts about the Queensferry Crossing. It was difficult to comprehend some of them. The one that absolutely blew my mind (not pictured here) was that 23,000 miles of cabling was used in the construction of the Queensferry Crossing. It stated that this is nearly enough to go around the world! That fact is incredible to me.
It was a shame that there were no speakers at the signs like there was at the travel hub. I’m not sure if there were any accommodations made for visually impaired participants.
I really enjoyed seeing the Queensferry Crossing close up and photographing all the different perspectives of the bridge. I particularly liked the way the cables crisscrossed. Weirdly (for me), I actually experienced a bit of vertigo each time I looked up at the supports. I have no idea why as heights don’t overly bother me.
My Wheelchair Helped To Make My Day More Enjoyable
In the end, I was glad that I took my wheelchair. I was exhausted enough by the end of the event. If I had walked, the PEM I would have experienced afterwards would have been horrific. As it was, I needed to go to my bed by the afternoon and I stayed there for the rest of the day. I was exhausted.
The lovely Theresa Jones (follow her FB craft page here) said something to me on my Facebook page that was wonderfully put. She said, “[That the photograph I posted on FB] just proves you can still accomplish things but… just in a different way.” I needed to be reminded of this. One day I will be able to walk that distance but, I’m not there yet and that’s okay.
I had a really nice morning and it was good to get out and do something. And it’ll be cool in the future to be able to say that I took part in this “once in a lifetime opportunity”.
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