Blackness is a small village and habour on Blackness Bay, on the south shore of the Firth of Forth. It stands some three miles east of Bo'ness and five miles west of South Queensferry and the three Forth Bridges. Its setting makes it the best natural harbour on the south side of the Firth of Forth west of Queensferry. The combination of this and its location, three-and-a-half miles north-east of the historic core of Linlithgow, which became a royal burgh in the first half of the 1100s, was significant in its early development.
By 1200 Blackness was serving as the port for Linlithgow, trading various commodities. However Blackness's importance as a port declined in the 1400s after the Burgh of Linlithgow built a harbour on a broad promontory (or "ness") projecting into the south side of the River Forth to allow it to export the ever-increasing amounts of coal being mined in the area. This was closer to Linlithgow than Blackness and "burgh's town on the ness" became Borrowstounness, and, eventually, Bo'ness. (Continues below images...)
The first mention of a castle at Blackness was in 1449. This was built on the headland at the eastern end of Blackness Bay. Blackness Castle evolved over the centuries and continues to dominate eastward views from the village to this day. The village's significance as a port increased again in the late 1700s but only temporarily. Until the 1960s the most notable building in the village itself was a warehouse dating back to the early days of its trade on behalf of Linlithgow. This was sadly removed to make room for one of the three-storey developments of flats which rather dominate the heart of the village.
Today's Blackness is a busy little place that is popular with visitors. There is access to the river on Blackness Bay, either side of the village, and to the east of the headland that leads to Blackness Castle. The church and war memorial mark the entrance to the village and from there you travel gently downhill to a square that is separated from the bay by flats and has the village pub, the Lobster Pot, on its upper side. Nearby is the Blackness Boat Club with its pier protruding into the river. A popular walk takes in the village, the castle, and the headland behind the castle, which offers fine views over the village and over the Firth of Forth.