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Importance of water transport

Charles I’s Scottish visit does however, mark the beginning of a chain of events which led to the Covenanter Wars five years later. They led directly to the English Civil War, the execution of Archbishop Laud and the King himself.

None of this was inevitable but the Scots were not prepared to compromise on matters of religion and Charles was not prepared to compromise on anything. So the ominous portents and undercurrents of 1633 were not just false alarms, and the loss of the ship and its contents off Burntisland was just the first of a series of losses for King Charles.

Charles returned to London largely empty handed, doubtless hoping to put this public relations disaster behind him. After crossing the border he rode to London in four days, over 100 Miles per day.
The Firth of Forth has been an internationally important shipping area since Roman times when, according to the historian Tacitus, Agricola explored the anchorage and harbours on the North side in the summer of 83 a.d. Burntisland was possibly the base for these operations, having the deepest and safest anchorage and being easily defendable

In those days and on into the middle ages, Fife was densely forested, with rough mountainous terrain and a deeply indented coastline. All this made overland travel and communication difficult and dangerous; so water transport was as vital to the Romans as it was to the Scottish Kings who needed a system of ferries and coastal shipping to ensure effective Government.

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