Since developing my knee problems in 2014 I hadn’t walked with Glasgow HF at all, my last club walk being Sgorr nam Fiannaidh and the Pap of Glencoe, which I hobbled off in some pain. With my operation last year and it being the centenary year of the club I’d been hoping to be a bit more active with the club again, and I had hoped to attend the club’s final Munro of the Centenary Munro Project which was suggested by John Moore back in 2006, the idea being to complete all the Munro’s as a club within 10 years in time for the centenary. That’s almost complete, but it’s unlikely I will be able to take part, in fact it was touch and go whether I would this low level ramble across Edinburgh.
I had been in a fair bit of pain in the days before this walk, but at the last minute decided to go, reckoning that if knee got too bad I could jump on any bus and head home. Lothian Travel’s day ticket is fantastic, as is the bus service. For once I was early, waiting in the rain outside Edinburgh Zoo for the Citylink bus from Glasgow to drop off John Barrowman and his merry band. It was good to see some of the old faces and catch up as we headed up over Corstorphine Hill, skirting the back of the Zoo, passing the rather well hidden Corstorphine Hill Tower before descending to Davidson’s Mains, and a breather in the park.
We passed down through Barnton, passing high walls and electric gates, and to Brae Park and the memorial stone to “Pet Marjorie”, or Marjorie Fleming, a child poet who died of meningitis aged 9. Apparently her work was highly thought of by Sir Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson.
Skirting past a field containing some Shetland ponies we arrived at Cramond Bridge which crosses the River Almond. We didn’t cross the bridge, but instead followed Dowies Mill Lane which runs parallel to the river towards the Forth. Almost 10 years ago while out in the Cant Hills near Fortissat in North Lanarkshire while on a trip to visit a trig point there (which I found had been removed and later learned was lying in a farmers yard) I came across the source of the river which rises from a spring there. The river actually starts almost right on the Great Watershed of Scotland and it’s worth checking out the Cant Hills if you have time as the views from there are fantastic.
It’s a pleasant walk along the Almond walkway, past bustling coffee shops and the ruined Fair-A-Far Mill to Cramond. We didn’t stop though, and most carried on out to Cramond Island as the tide was in our favour. I’ve been along this stretch of the beach before but this was my first time on the island itself and it takes a surprising amount of time to get out there. There are tide tables posted on the causeway, and you really must pay attention to them to avoid being trapped on the island.
We didn’t stay long and after a short while headed back where I said my goodbyes to the club, as I could get a more suitable bus at nearby Silverknowes. As I walked up the hill away from the sea my mind was drawn back to the River Almond. Having visited both ends of the river perhaps I should start to fill in the rest…