(SFX steam or modern train crossing bridge mixes to SFX of medieval ferry oarsman)
N1: Indeed! In Margaret’s time, there was a really important route not far from here, for pilgrims on their way to St Andrews. You might have seen people doing these ancient pilgrimages on television even now. Perhaps you’ve heard about the Camino to Santiago Di Compostela in Spain, or St Cuthbert’s Way to Holy Island in Northumberland, where somebody sets off to walk sometimes hundreds of miles, to visit the shrine of a patron saint. These days people might do it to escape the trials of modern life but certainly back then, it was a way of getting closer to God.
N1: Anyway, St Andrews is about 50 miles north of here and for pilgrims of the time, it was the most important destination in Scotland. It was a huge distance for them to cover on foot and if you were coming from the South, you got this far and then confronted with the Firth of Forth.
N2: What did they do then? Nip across the bridge?
N1: No bridges in those days. I suppose you might have been able to persuade someone with a boat to take you across if you could afford it but if not, you had to go all the way inland and back round the other side. It added nearly 50 miles and, days to the journey.
N2: Let me see if I can work this out. The fact that the two places are called Queensferry must mean that she introduced a ferry there for the first time.
N1: Exactly! She provided a ferry to cross the water and it was free for those pilgrims travelling to see the relics of St Andrew. I can only imagine that putting something there for all to use was a really important religious achievement. It would have had a massive and direct impact on ordinary people. Big business for the church too… And it’s amazing to think that a ferry service operated right up until 1964 when the road bridge was built. By the way, if you fancy a taste of those days, I’ve heard you can now walk a new Pilgrim’s Way to St Andrews and it goes through the centre of Dunfermline. A mere 60 odd miles in all, so you should manage that easily before you go home.
N2: Maybe I will! But not today.
N2: So, that’s where the names come from. That is interesting. But the towns are called Queensferry not Saintsferry. Are you sure it’s the same Margaret?
N1: Good question and yes, it is the same one. Let’s take a walk up through the park and I’ll tell you how she went from Queen to Saint in no time at all.
From the benches walk right along the path and take second turn on the right.
Walking up the slope you will go past the Glen Pavilion and, the tea rooms on the left
You will see or hear kids playing in the play parks on your left. When you look right you see a train engine
Then on top of the hill is a statue. Turn right to go up the path towards the statue and once past the statue, follow path to the avenue of benches in front of the statue.