A Royal Burgh in Fife, Inverkeithing is a settlement of around 4,200 people. Due to its strategic location, on the edge of the Firth of Forth, it has seen significant development changes over time and the surrounding area used to be the mining heartland of Fife.
The name Inverkeithing is said to be derived from the Gaelic with the best explanation according to etymology to mean the entrance of the water into the sea between little hills.
Little remains of the town’s medieval walls which were demolished in the 16th century.
An inlet within Inverkeithing Bay on the northern shore of Firth of Forth, Inner Bay, lies a quarter mile south of Inverkeithing town centre.
The port of Inverkeithing was established on this sheltered inlet, but activity here is much reduced, having been focused primarily on the ship-breaking yard at Jamestown. This Yard was opened in 1923 to dismantle surplus ships after the First World War and many famous ships were dismantled here.
Today the Fife Coastal path curves around the bay.
The Prestonhill Quarry site is an area which including the flooded quarry basin extends to approximately 35 acres
Quarrying of dolerite at the site commenced in the 1890s and continued through the early and mid-20th century but had ceased by 1980. The quarry appears simply to have been abandoned, although almost all equipment was removed.
Although accessible to the public, the site provides a dangerous environment due to the vertical and unstable quarry walls and the flooded basin which has been used as a dumping area.
The site is now listed on the Scottish Vacant and Derelict Land Survey register
During 40 years of neglect of the site, there have been four recorded fatalities in the flooded portion of the quarry, with understandable public outcry following each incident.
However, during this period the responsible party with ultimate accountability for the condition of the site could not be found. The reason for this was that the company originally owning the site (Letham Bay Developments) had ceased trading
Finally, Fife Council made attempts to seal off the inner quarry area by erecting a substantial fence, the remnants of which are still standing today.
This fence was vandalised shortly after completion and has not been maintained since, leaving access to the quarry cliffs and flooded basin as unrestricted.
The site is located on the River Forth coastline, north east of East Ness in Inverkeithing Bay, and to the SE of Inverkeithing.
Commuting to Edinburgh is less than 20 minutes by train, via the historic Forth Rail Bridge and by road less than 30 minutes via the Queensferry Crossing.
There are extensive views across the river to many of the historic parts of the Capital City of Scotland, the Forth Rail Bridge and as far as the eye can see to the expanse of the North Sea and the eastern edge of the site adjoins Letham Hill Wood.
The Fife Coastal Path route passes through the site along with the National Cycle Route 76 ‘Around the Forth’.
As already mentioned, the area of the main quarry site is some 35 acres, of which somewhat less than half appears to have been quarried or used for ancillary quarry purposes.