Port Edgar

City of Edinburgh

Port Edgar Marina and the Forth Road Bridge
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Port Edgar Marina and the Forth Road Bridge

A small harbour and yachting marina on the south shore of the Firth of Forth on the western border of the City of Edinburgh Council Area, Port Edgar lies a half-mile (1 km) west of South Queensferry. Its name derives from the suggestion that the English King Edgar Aetheling landed here in 1068 having escaped from the Normans to take refuge at the court of Malcolm III. His sister Margaret was to marry Malcolm the following year. A fine pier was erected in 1810 and Port Edgar went on to operate as a fishing, ferry and coal-bunkering harbour. King George IV embarked here in 1822 after visiting the Earl of Hopetoun. The harbour was acquired by the Admiralty in 1916 and commissioned as HMS Columbine, operating in conjunction with the Rosyth dockyard on the opposite side of the river. Sixty-six destroyers were based here. There was a mutiny amongst the destroyer crews of the First Flotilla in 1919, owing to the conditions of service in North Russia. The base was closed in 1928, and its buildings used as a holiday camp during the 1930s for the families of the unemployed from Edinburgh and Glasgow. The navy re-activated Port Edgar in 1939 as HMS Lochinvar, a facility for mine-laying and mine-sweeping. Crown Prince Olaf was one of a significant Norwegian contingent based here, having escaped the German invasion of their country. A combined operations training centre was established here in 1943 in preparation for the Normandy landings the following year. A Minesweeping Trials and Experimentation Establishment was established here in 1948 and Port Edgar continued as the Royal Navy's mine-sweeping training centre until its closure in 1975. The former Lothian Regional Council acquired the facility in 1978 to become a marina.

Today, Port Edgar is of significant historical interest because it represents a rare example of a substantially-complete First World War naval base, with many of the former military buildings remaining on the site, either serving the marina or as a substantial store for the National Museums of Scotland. It is now the principal marina on the Forth, with 300 serviced berths and a sailing school. It is operated by Edinburgh Leisure, on behalf of the City of Edinburgh Council.

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