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The River Forth (Gaelic: Uisge For or Abhainn Dhubh, meaning "black river"), 47 km (29 miles) long, is the major river draining the eastern part of the central belt of Scotlandmarker.

The Forth rises in Loch Ardmarker in the Trossachsmarker, a mountainous area some 30 km (19 miles) west of Stirlingmarker. It flows roughly eastward, through Aberfoyle, joining with the Duchray Water and Kelty Water, and out over the flat expanse of the Flanders Moss. It is then joined by the River Teithmarker (which itself drains Loch Venacharmarker, Loch Lubnaigmarker, Loch Katrinemarker, and Loch Voil) and the River Allanmarker, before meandering through the ancient city of Stirling. At Stirling the river widens and becomes tidal, and it is here that the last (seasonal) ford of the river exists. From Stirling, the Forth flows east over the Carse of Stirling and past the towns of Cambus (where it is joined by the river Devon), Alloamarker and Airthmarker. Upon reaching Kincardinemarker the river begins to widen into an estuary, the Firth of Forthmarker.

Settlements on the Forth

There are a number of towns which line the shores, as well as the petrochemical complexes at Grangemouthmarker, the commercial docks at Leithmarker, oilrig construction yards at Methilmarker, the ship-breaking facility at Inverkeithingmarker and the naval dockyard at Rosythmarker, with numerous other industrial areas including the Forth Bridgehead area, Burntislandmarker, Kirkcaldymarker, Bo'nessmarker and Levenmarker.

Navigation on the Forth

In medieval times the Forth was navigable at least as far as Stirlingmarker, but silting and the increase in ship sizes now mean that traffic upstream of Kincardinemarker is rare.

Bridges over the Forth

Upstream of Stirling, the river is rather small and is crossed in numerous places (although prior to modern drainage works, the ground was often treacherously marshy near the riverbank). After its confluence with the Teith and Allan, the river is sufficiently wide that a significant bridge is required. A bridge has existed at Stirling since at least the 13th century, and until the opening of the road crossing at Kincardine in 1936, Stirling remained the easternmost road crossing. The Clackmannanshire Bridgemarker just upstream of the Kincardine Bridge opened on Wednesday, 19th November 2008. Much further downstream at Queensferrymarker the famous Forth bridgemarker (a railway bridge) opened in 1890 and a modern road bridgemarker in 1964. A swinging railway bridge between Alloamarker on the north shore and Throsk on the south opened in 1885 and was closed (and largely demolished) in 1970.

Plans to construct a new road bridge slightly to the West of the existing Forth road Bridge have been announced by the Scottish Government. It is planned to open in 2016.

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