Welcome to the Scottish Heritage Home Page!

- Robert Burns





Ferry Road


For the local boys of my time, one of Earlsferry’s great assets was the downhill section of the Ferry Road that ran all the way from the bend at the upper end at the house by the name of “The Marne” at the east end of the Grange Road and from there downhill a quarter of a mile passing the Links Road, Ivy Cottage and the High Street until the roadway ended at the sandy end of the Ferry Wynd at the beach. This downhill Ferry roadway was our “Brooklands” race track where my special pal Jems and I and the other Ferry boys raced our guiders, our home-made coaster “soapbox derby” buggies.


Each of our guiders was a one of a kind and some were quite ingenious as to their materials and methods of construction. The body of my “race car” started out as a wooden fish box that I found on the tide line. No doubt the fish box with the name Pittenweem on it had been washed overboard in a storm from a Pittenweem fishing boat. To cut down on wind resistance I removed the ends of the box so that I could either sit upright or lie flat when steering. To the underside of the box I fastened a board that extended about two feet in front of the box and to this board I attached the swiveling axle and the front wheels. My four rubber tired ball bearing wheels that  religiously I kept oiled, started out their life as being the wheels of a baby pram that I rescued from the local dump. The axles to fit the wheels were forged for me by the Elie blacksmith who had his forge at the end of The Pend at Park Place.  (As the blacksmith hammered on his anvil, boys of the village got to pump the bellows to keep the fire burning brightly.) I attached a short length of rope between the front wheels to provide the means for steering as I coasted down the hill and for hauling my pride and joy back up the hill for the next downhill run. 


With few vehicles on the roads in these days we did not have to worry about running in to cars and traffic that came along the Links Road but one boy had to stay on traffic watch where the Ferry Road crossed the Ferry High Street.


On the days that we raced and threw caution to the wind we had a considerable number of onlookers who cheered us on as we sped down the hill. As our Ferry Road race track crossed the golf course our spectators were golfers who were in the process of putting out at the 3rd. or the 17th. greens and those who were driving off from the 4th. or the 18th. tees.  There were times that we had an upset that caused bruises and blood to flow but all in all I don’t recall that any one of us ever sustained a serious injury.  Our competitive racing days were great fun. Very strange. At this moment as I sit here up in Central Oregon's high country I can "see" myself, Jems and the other Ferry boys racing down the Ferry Road.


As I recall the days that we raced in our coasters down the Ferry Road I also remember the tragic accidental death of Jim Clark, the man who became the famous Scottish renowned International Grand Prix race car driver.  Jim Clark was born just a few miles from Earlsferry at the village of Kilmany 5 miles NE of Cupar in Fife. Later as the son of a farmer he lived near the Scottish border town of Duns. I remember Jim Clark not only for his skill as a race car driver but for his impressive personality. It was his nature to always be smiling. He was a man who had great charisma and everything to live for. His untimely death at 32 years of age was a deeply mourned tragedy.  His international contemporaries named him "The Flying Scot" and said he was the greatest Grand Prix race car driver of all time. Could be that as a  boy Jim Clark started out his racing career with a soap box buggie guider with which he too coasted down a hill.


Jim Clark, OBE,    March 4th 1936---April 7th 1968.


If you are ever near the Scottish Borders do go to the small town of Duns to see the Jim Clark Memorial Room.