Painting the Forth Bridge

Tom Gomez

Joined January 2008

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Artist's Description

A partial shot of the north span of the Forth Bridge and the island of Inchgarvie (or Inch Garvie) at South Queensferry, Scotland.

Inchgarvie contains the remains of a castle, coast battery and artillery fortifications.

Famously during WWII, the Germans published a blurry aerial photograph showing the Rail bridge and what they claimed was a plume of smoke from a direct hit on the bridge. Of course they had missed and mistook Inch Garvie for the smoke.

The name ‘Inch Garvie’ is probably originally of Gaelic derivation, meaning ‘rough island’.

The bridge is currently covered in scaffolding and plastic sheeting. The reason for this is that the bridge is being repained. The traditional lead based red paint is being sandblasted away and a triple layer of new “glass flake epoxy” paint, which is similar to that used in the offshore oil industry is being applied.

The claim is that it creates a chemical bond to provide a virtually impenetrable layer to protect the bridge’s steelwork from the weather.

The new paint has an estimated life span of 25 years, although is it hoped it will last closer to 40 years.

The expression “like painting the Forth Bridge” features in the Cambridge International Dictionary of Idioms.

It states: “If repairing or improving something is like painting the Forth Bridge, it takes such a long time that by the time you have finished doing it, you have to start again.”

For more than 100 years, that is how painting work on the bridge has been carried out. Work started in 2002 and is expected to be completed in 2011.

Camera: Canon EOS 450D (Digital Rebel XSi in the USA)


Three bracketed RAWs converted to HDR in Photomatix.

Related shots can be found at:
South Queensferry, Lowland Scotland and Bridges.

Click on this image to be taken to its page

Artwork Comments

  • cherylc1
  • Joanne  Bradley
  • Bootiewootsy
  • EarthGipsy
  • Antanas
  • Denis Molodkin
  • Rachael Lynch
  • John44
  • simba
  • hereforfun
  • Tom Gomez
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