Edinburgh – photos to inspire you to take a walk

IMG_20180519_001157_216-624x350.jpg
Edinburgh Castle, Scotland.
IMG_20180518_090128-624x350.jpg
Scottish National Gallery, the Mound. Edinburgh, Scotland.
IMG_20180518_090035-350x624.jpg
National Galleries of Scotland, Princes Street Gardens entrance. Edinburgh, Scotland.
IMG_20180518_090343-624x350.jpg
Scottish National Gallery, Princes Street. Edinburgh, Scotland.
IMG_20180518_091536-350x624.jpg
St Cuthbert’s Church, Lothian Road. Edinburgh, Scotland.
IMG_20180518_091929-624x350.jpg
Churchyard, St Cuthbert’s Church, Lothian Road (entrance also from Princes Street gardens, west end). Edinburgh, Scotland.
IMG_20180518_092011-624x350.jpg
Waldorf Astoria – The Caledonian, Lothian Road. Edinburgh, Scotland.
IMG_20180506_175914 (640x359)
National Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street. Edinburgh, Scotland.
IMG_20180506_174919 (640x359)
National Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street. Edinburgh, Scotland.
IMG_20180506_175325 (640x359)
The Flodden Wall (George IV Bridge near Greyfriar’s Church). Edinburgh, Scotland.
IMG_20180506_175347 (640x359)
Greyfriar’s Kirk (church), George IV Bridge. Edinburgh, Scotland.
IMG_20180506_175604 (640x359)
View from graveyard of Greyfriar’s Kirk (church), George IV Bridge towards Cental Library. Edinburgh, Scotland.
IMG_20180506_175827 (640x359)
View from graveyard. Greyfriar’s Kirk (church), George IV Bridge. Towards Forest Row. Edinburgh, Scotland.
IMG_20180506_175925 (359x640)
Greyriar’s Bobby (dug / dog). Notice his shiny nose where people rub it for good luck. Edinburgh, Scotland.
IMG_20180506_180358 (640x359)
St Giles Cathedral and Mercat Cross, Royal Mile. Edinburgh, Scotland.
IMG_20180506_180617 (640x359)
View from the Bank of Scotland building, the Mound – Princes Street and the Scott Monument. Edinburgh, Scotland.
IMG_20180506_181135 (640x359)
Princes Street Gardens, Scott Monument and the Balmoral Hotel (North Bridge). Edinburgh, Scotland.
IMG_20180506_181240 (640x359)
Live music at the Mound (Scott Monument in the background). Edinburgh, Scotland.
IMG_20180518_090752 (640x359)
Princes Street, Edinburgh, Scotland.
IMG_20180518_091804 (640x359)
St John’s Church, Princes Street, Edinburgh, Scotland.
IMG_20180426_172101 (640x359)
Carlton Hill with street lamps and clouds, Edinburgh, Scotland.
IMG_20180506_174222 (640x359)
The Meadows, Edinburgh, Scotland.
IMG_20180508_184207 (640x359)
Drumsheugh Gardens, New Town, Edinburgh, Scotland.
IMG_20180429_114112 (359x640)
Douglas Gardens, New Town, Edinburgh, Scotland.
IMG_20180429_113632 (640x359)
The Water of Leith, Edinburgh, Scotland.
IMG_20180513_165610 (640x359)
The Old Cinema, Leith, Edinburgh, Scotland.

Granton to South Queensferry, Edinburgh walk

Granton Harbour (built in the 1830s and historical site of the first electric car factory) to South Queensferry – an easy and utterly heavenly walk which takes you along the shore, through woodland and between agricultural pastures.

This blog contains directions for the walk, together with a collection of observations.

IMG_20180512_154357 (640x359)
Bluebell woods, Rosebery Estate, Scotland.
IMG_20180512_135013 (640x359)
Agricultural land, Rosebery Estate, Scotland.

Today was everything that is quintessentially reminiscent of my childhood in British springtime: bluebell woods and wild flowers by the path side.

IMG_20180512_122435 (640x359)
Cow parsley, Silverknowes, Scotland.
IMG_20180512_131635 (359x640)
Wild garlic.

I left at 11.20 and arrived at 4.20, but as my friend Ann said when she told me about this walk on Friday, it depends how many times you stop! I think I probably had half an hour at the cafe and half on the beach so I would allow 4 hours.

IMG_20180512_123811 (640x359)
The Cramond Falls Cafe is in the woods along the Rover Almond Walkway, Scotland.

It was shorts-n-t-shirt weather.

IMG_20180512_121445 (640x359)
Broadwalk Beach Club (cafe), Cramond Foreshore, Silverknowes, Scotland. Note the wide path (car free).

Thanks to Kista for this quote onbeing.org

“The natural world is where we evolved.
It’s where our minds evolved.
It’s where we became who we truly are,
and it’s where we are most at home.”
– Michael McCarthy –

IMG_20180512_112957 (640x359)
The old light house where Janis used to store her Scenehouse (professional set design training) costumes. Granton, Edinburgh.

It starts among wasteland and industrial plots – either side of West Harbour Road.

IMG_20180512_113207 (640x359)
The Big Red Bus company Vintage Routemaster bus hire, special occasions etc run by friends.

Once away from the traffic, I saw a circle of gulls mimicking a mothers group, just out at sea; a pair of multi-coloured sparrow-small birds (red, black, brown and white) which played by the water line; eider ducks swam by – she brown and he black and white.

IMG_20180512_113913 (640x359)
The first sight of the sea – you cannot quite see the Forth rail bridge in the photo but you can with the naked eye.

IMG_20180512_113947 (359x640)

The little girl who held her mother’s hand was leaping for joy over the waves.

IMG_20180512_114211 (359x640)
Inchkeith Island in the distance, one of the many small islands in the Firth of Forth.

The tarmac way stretching from Granton through Silverknowes (1 mile) to Cramond is perfect for wheels of all sorts – scooters, roller skates and blades, prams, wheelchairs and bikes. Dad said, ‘look no hands’, and wobbled dangerously. As he passed me he muttered, ‘harder on this bike’!

IMG_20180512_115259 (640x359)
The little white blob on the left was a baby enjoying picking up stones while her mum had a quiet smoke.

It can be crowded at weekends at this stage, but at other times so very peaceful. As I passed, I caught the fragrance of elderflower and meadowsweet. The Edinburgh airport flight path is parallel to this trek so planes roared periodically overhead.

IMG_20180512_120954 (640x359)
The area is full of history, with boards located at intervals which tell you about it .
IMG_20180512_120627 (640x359)
On one side, the sea, on the other private parkland with trees inbetween.
IMG_20180512_120241 (640x359)
Almond House Lodge, Marine Drive, Edinburgh.

Past Gypsy Brae, I spied Almond House Lodge. At the corner you can cross to Cramond Island at low tide but beware! people often get stranded.

IMG_20180512_123334 (640x359)
Cramond Island and the familiar sight of white yachts racing, Scotland.

On the left are public toilets and then a steep slope up to the village. By now you will have passed two ice-cream vans.  There are two cafes: the Cramond Gallery Bistro near where the Roman statue of a lionness was dredged up in 1977, and further on past the marina, the Cramond Falls cafe. There I stopped for a delicious green tea and what was not really a scone but nice cherry cake just out of the oven. I sat in the ‘walled garden’ listening to a woman read out a most distressing text from her son.

IMG_20180512_123450 (640x359)
Yacht moored at the mouth of the Almond River, Scotland.
IMG_20180512_123559 (640x359)
Part of the marina on the River Almond. You can the ferry house opposite where a small boat took people across in the past.
IMG_20180512_124139 (640x359)
The picturesque River Almond, Scotland.

IMG_20180512_130500 (640x359)

IMG_20180512_130531 (640x359)
The weir at Caddell’s Row, River Almond, Scotland. Look out for herons here!

A duckling was nudged by its mother; a tan-headed crested grebe ducked and reappeared, its tuft upright though wet. Thin, shiny-green beech leaves seemed almost plasticy, matching the weed drifted in the river. The sound of bubbling water and the ‘creep creep’ of birds surrounded me.

IMG_20180512_131116 (359x640)

One of a pair of women in serious sun hats were the first to say ‘good morning’, an hour and a half into my walk. She was American. ‘Oh’, she said as I went past, ‘I’ve been saying good morning all this time and it’s the afternoon!’ and laughed. Later there were many friendly families of cyclists cheerfully greeting me.

The path is generally very easy to follow, but do keep taking the right hand fork if you have a choice.

Take a right at Dowies Mill Lane where there is a playpark and Shetland ponies. I realised I was already at the field I was told about and, yes, there was an immediately newborn foal in a woman’s arms. Last week’s littl’un was being trotted round the field by mum. The two other adult horses were curious, and crowded round the shed door.

IMG_20180512_132847 (640x359)

Then right again at Cramond Brig (bridge). (You could go left for the cycle path back to Edinburgh, or straight on for the continuation of the Almond Walkway).

After Bridge Cottage (above), go up the lane by the Cramond Brig Inn and keep right until there are signs to South Queensferry. The road travels through the Dalmeny Estate by a bank of comfrey, white dead nettle, dandelions, pink campion and buttercups. Flies looped the loop after each other in front of my nose. A cuckoo called; a bee buzzed by my ear; white cherry-blossom petals wafted.

Keep straight on.

IMG_20180512_135825 (640x359)
Allotment holders delight!

Look to the right to see Granton’s very own disused gas building frame thing.

from phone - various to March 2015 048 (427x640)
Granton’s disused gas works, Waterfront Park, Edinburgh. Taken in 2015 with the old camera!

When when you get close to the sea take the left fork signed John Muir Way (JM Way).

IMG_20180512_140404 (359x640)

A group of women came up behind me with their Glasgow accents. Actually, all day I heard almost as many foreign languages as I hear when walking in mainland Europe.

IMG_20180512_143857 (359x640)

Turn left again at the beach. Here one can take a tiny right hand détour to lie on warm sand and sit on the promontory of Eagle Rock with its chocolate seams, in a beige cove. I looked back to my right at Cramond Harbour with a beautiful view of the island.

IMG_20180512_140835 (640x359)
Eagle Rock, Scotland.

IMG_20180512_140733 (640x359)

I meditated on the sound of the waves and tried, unsuccessfully, to ignore the fly crawling up my arm. I smelled the beautiful briney sea (sing-along-a Bedknobs and Broomsticks fans).

Oyster catchers, and curlews with long sabre-curved beaks perched on the starboard side.

At the cottages, stay right on the JM Way.

There was a coconut scent of warm gorse here. The ash trees had young leaves, no black nibs to decorate them now as it is April. I stopped and hung over the dinky wooden bridge and heard a bumble bee and the trickling brook.

IMG_20180512_145547 (640x359)

IMG_20180512_145954 (640x359)

The path continued beside the golf links, opposite the Fife Coastal Path.

Two geese flew over and honked. It is definitely spring – everything and everyone is in pairs. I will be honest, I want the whole world to be in love.

First I walked past the impressive Dalmeny House and very shortly afterwards, the grey stone Barnbougle Castle owned by the Earl of Rosebery and extremely private. This is where I saw my first magenta rhododendron buds. I was on cycle route 76 as well as the JM Way.

IMG_20180513_122918 (640x471)
Dalmeny House, Scotland.
IMG_20180512_151510 (640x359)
Barnbougle Castle

A great arc of precisely patterned oyster catchers alighted in front of the couple who sat quietly side-by-side at the shoreline. Later I spot them (the birds!) lined up neatly, a flock on a rock, like white cake icing.

I past a mum taking a snap of dad up a tree, son in his bike helmet looking up into the branches nervously. As I waded through springy undergrowth to get a shot, I disturbed spider filaments which clung to me and tickled as I got back to the path. There were cerise stalks and seed cases of the sycamore and pollen yellow clutch of unfurled ferns.

To my mind it was a shame about the yapping dogs on the beach and the droning of the water motorbikes; but a kid hurling stones, boys paddling and little girls rock pooling all seemed somewhat idyllic.

‘Do you trust me’ asked a lady’, shrilly? And then she laughed with a wicked stepmother sort of laugh. A black lab with a ruby, lolling tongue implied, ‘you might want to lie down but I want you to throw the stick’.

IMG_20180513_122538 (640x512)

I passed out of the Dalmeny Estate through the Longcraig Gate at South Queensferry. If you do not want to walk the way I did, you can park at the foot of the rail bridge there and walk part of the way in the other direction. You could also take the train from Edinburgh to Dalmeny Town and cycle (£4.70 return with Scotrail).

IMG_20180512_161508 (640x359)
The rail bridge over the Firth of Forth with a view of the new road bridge between its legs.

A lad said, ‘Don’t you hate it when you get a speck of sand between your toes and then there’s a blister?’

IMG_20180512_155138 (640x359)

Under the famous rail bridge I found myself on New Halls Road where perhaps 50 bikers with their beards and bald heads brummed their engines. I had a half of Holyrood pale ale in The Hawes Inn.

IMG_20180512_161431 (640x359)
The iconic Firth of Forth red rail bridge. The one they have to start paining again as soon as they have finished.

There are many steep steps to the station and tiny little signs. When you find yourself in the middle of a housing estate, go straight on (not right) and it is on the left. (I am not quite sure why I got a return except that my head is always ‘mince’ after a walk. The guard said if he had sold it to me on the train he could have refunded it!)

IMG_20180512_121623 (640x359)