I was pleased to read of the proposed reintroduction of the Almond Ferry at Cramond (your report, 29 July) and immediately thought of Davie, an old and dearly departed drinking companion, who introduced me to the shore walk that runs from South Queensferry to Cramond.
Davie would reminisce about the days when strong drink was only sold to “bona fide” travellers on the sabbath, so he would travel from Dunfermline to North Queensferry by bus, take the paddle-driven ferry boat to South Queensferry and from there he would walk off the Saturday night’s excesses on the footpath to the river Almond.
Then a penny ferry across to Cramond and on to Edinburgh, where he would “sign in” to the many seven-day licensed hotels for his Sunday session. He saidthis routine/ritual was always a one-way affair because after his day in Auld Reekie he wasn’t fit for the coastal path and returned, suitably refreshed, on public transport.
I enjoyed our walks as Davie was a mine of information. An avid punter, he told me about how Lord Rosebery had married into the Rothschild banking dynasty, then became Prime Minister, and to top it all won the Epsom Derby with his horse Ladas, upon which a friend had telegrammed him “only heaven left!”
I did the shore walk with Davie often, and later, regularly, with my family. Driving by car to South Queensferry, parking there and on to the river Almond, before crossing to Cramond for refreshments, summoning the ferryman by ringing a bell provided for that purpose at Cobble Cottage.
It’s good to know that a long-standing tradition is to be reinstated, albeit with public funds, and not a benefaction, heavily subsidised by the local aristocracy, as it was until the recent past.