What Scottish Royal Burgh enjoys a Looney Dook on New Years Day and
during the town's annual Ferry Fair in August has the unique feature of
the perambulation of the 'Burry Man'? The answer is South Queensferry,
the unspoilt, conservation town on the shores of the Forth which nestles
between the two bridges spanning the water across to the Kingdom of
Fife.The ancient burgh offers a perfect day out and among its charms are
the distinctive architecture, picturesque harbour, and the long and
narrow High Street which quaintly curves for about half-a-mile along a
steep, rocky shelf on the shore below Dalmeny. In addition a thriving
marina, abundant sea and bird life, a wide choice of hostelries and
eating places, and the attraction of splendid views of the Forth and the
Rail and Road Bridges all add to the burgh's appeal.
Prior to the opening of the Road bridge in 1964 a ferry had plied its
trade for centuries between South Queensferry amd North Queensferry in
Fife. The 'Queen's Ferry' dates back to the reign of Malcolm III, King
of Scots, who married the Hungarian-born Anglo-Saxon Princess Margaret.
After she became Queen in 1071, free passage for pilgrims en route for
St Andrews was guaranteed by the King via the 'Queen's Ferry' (begun by
David I in 1129). Ferries can still be seen from South Queensferry as
the Rosyth Ferry plies its trade with Zeebrugge.
The two year old Rosyth service to the Continent recalls the vigorous
trade in the 17th century between 'The Ferry' and Northern Europe and it
was at that time the very distinctive High Street was first developed -
The Tolbooth, Laburnum House, the oldest house in the burgh the Black
Castle (1626) and Plewlands House (1641) reflect the prosperity of that
At the east end of the burgh stands The Hawes Inn (1683) which was the
scene of the fictional liaison between Captain Hoseason of the brig
Covenant of Dysart and Uncle Ebenezer prior to the abduction of David
Balfour in Robert Louis Stevenson's famous novel 'Kidnapped'. The Hawes
Inn (braw bar lunches) also features in Sir Walter Scott's 'The
During the tourist season from the nearby Hawes Pier, you can take the
'Maid of the Forth' out to Inchcolm Island and visit the beautiful
ruined abbey, founded in 1121 by King Alexander I. The tiny island is
home to many seabirds and a colony of seals. Also near to South
Queensferry lies Hopetoun House, a 300-year-old-house which is often
described as Scotland's finest stately home. Set in 100 acres of
magnificent parkland, its impressive collection of art treasures are
well worth seeing. Nearby Dalmeny House with its lovely grounds is also
worth a visit.
The Looney Dook and the 'Burry Man' we will leave for another day!
The two bridges overspanning South Queensferry inspire this week's
recipe - Bridge Rolls - and this quantity makes 12 to 16 rolls.
Ingredients : 8 oz (225 g) strong white flour; 1 teaspoon salt; 2 oz (50
g) butter; 1/2 oz (15 g) fresh yeast or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried yeast with
1 teaspoon sugar; 1 egg, beaten; approx 4 fl oz (100 ml) warm milk cream
or egg and milk wash (1 egg beaten with 1-2 tablespoons milk), to glaze
Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl and leave in a warm place.
Cut the fat into the flour and rub in to a breadcrumb consistency. Blend
the fresh yeast with the warm milk.
For dried yeast, make the milk slightly warmer, dissolve the sugar in it
and sprinkle on the yeast.
When the yeast liquid is frothy, add the beaten egg and mix into the
flour to a fairly soft dough, adding extra milk if necessary. Turn on to
a floured board and knead until smooth. Put into an oiled polythene bag
and leave in a warm place until doubled in bulk.
Knock back the dough on a floured board. Shape into a sausage and divide
into 12 or 16 equal-sized pieces. With floured fingers, roll each piece
into a torpedo shape and place fairly close together in rows on a
lightly greased baking sheet. Cover with polthene and leave to rise for
15 to 20 minutes until the dough springs back when pressed. Brush with
cream or egg wash. Bake in the centre of a pre-heated hot oven (220 deg
C, 425 deg F, Gas Mark 7) for 15 to 20 minutes according to size. Remove
from the oven and if they have baked together, separate carefully. Cool
on a wire tray.