Scottish walks: River Almond & Cramond Island, Edinburgh

River Almond. Picture: Nick Drainey
River Almond. Picture: Nick Drainey
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Cramond Island often makes the news in the summer months as people become stranded by incoming tides, unable to cross back to the mainland via a causeway.

Despite these dramas, it is safe to cross as long as you go and return within the times displayed at the start of the causeway. You can also see them here: http://www.queensferrylifeboat.co.uk/#!safe-crossing-times/c1mo8
Some may not wish to go over to the island, especially those with small children, but that does not mean you should not visit the picturesque village of Cramond.

Planes going to and from Edinburgh Airport fly over often but they are easily blanked out with a walk up the pretty gorge carrying the River Almond to the Firth of Forth.

With spring flowers in abundance, especially ramsons (also known as wild garlic), the route winds by the water, ending at a stone bridge. There is a pub above this, one of a number of refuelling options.

If you do go to the island, make sure you check the tide times for your return.

Distance 2½ miles (add 2 miles if going to Cramond Island as well).

Height climbed 100 ft.

Time 1 to 1½ hours (allow an extra hour to get to and from the island, longer if exploring it or having a picnic).

Map OS Landranger 65 or 66.

Park There is a free car park near the foreshore in Cramond. Turn off Whitehouse Road, following a sign for “Cramond Village and Kirk”, down Cramond Glebe Road, and turn right near the bottom of the hill.

In summary From the car park go down to the foreshore and turn left to walk along a wide esplanade with Cramond Island, and the causeway leading to it, on your right. The esplanade turns left at the mouth of the River Almond and passes moorings for boats.

Head upstream and take a path that begins after Cramond Boat Club, following the River Almond Walkway. After a few hundred yards go right at the Cramond Falls Cafe to stay close to the water. The path then runs along a minor road, to the end of a small car park, from where you continue towards a ruined building with a weir beyond it.

Ascend a wide flight of steps, and continue upstream until you reach a long, steep set of steps which lead to a path running high above the river.

More steps lead down to the riverbank which you follow to reach a minor road. At the end of the road go right and right again to reach Cramond Old Brig. The Miller & Carter Steakhouse (it used to be The Brig pub) is on the other side of the bridge if you need some refreshment before heading back to Cramond the same way.

Refresh There is quite a choice. The Cramond Inn is near the entrance of the car park, while the Cramond Gallery Bistro is round the corner next to the boat moorings. The Cramond Falls Cafe is a short way up the river and the Miller & Carter Steakhouse is at the halfway point.

While you are in the area Cramond Kirk is worth having a look around and you also have Edinburgh, with all its attractions, a short distance away.