Day 1: English Coast Path

EDINBURGH (Forth Bridge) – PRESTONPANS

21st March 2018

Today miles: 23.6      Total miles: 23.6

Not sure as too why I decided to start this walk under the Forth Road Bridge except that it’s fairly easy to reach from my home in Northumberland and its also nice to look at. I’ve walked in this area before on previous visits to Scotland so I had a decent idea of today’s plans and how to get from A to B. Before leaving home I did my usual habit of checking weather forecast and treble checking everything was in my rucksack. The 1 hour journey up to Prestonpans was uneventful and I arrived and parked close to the police station which is situated close to the coast. After a short walk to the train station I jumped on board the train to Edinburgh arriving under the impressive Forth Bridge just after 10am. img_1933I‘ve admired this rail bridge from afar having driven over the adjacent Road Bridge dozens of times and then walked over the same bridge last year on my LEJOG adventure. There was a fairly steady breeze blowing across the Firth of Forth and there was a lot of loose debris to be wary of and I also had to watch for falling branches. As I approached Dalmeny Park and Dalmeny House I encountered several notices warning that the path was closed and I should find an alternative. This might sound silly to some but my experience has taught me that these signs are often excessive in there warning of danger and I was proven correct. Having continued along the footpath I encountered a ditch which had been dug across the entire track. It was no more then 18 inches wide and covered with a thick, heavy metal plate. I stepped over the ditch without any fear and giggled at the ridiculousness of the suggestion of any danger. Seconds later I engaged in some none friendly banter with one of the workmen (leaning on his spade) who had an issue with me ignoring his signs, just to clarify, if the danger had been real I would have recognised it and turned around, I don’t have a death wish.

Soon after clearing the trees beyond Dalmeny House I got my first view of Cramond Island. Now according to my own set of rules I should walk to the Island, it’s tidal and possible to visit as long as the tide is out. I quickly decided that I’d only walk to the Island if the tide was out and wasn’t going to hang around for hours waiting for the water to recede. Before reaching the causeway I had to head inland for a km and cross the River Almond via the Cramond Bridge. I grabbed a quick Latte and a chocolate bar from the cafe, had a short break before checking the timetable and setting off across the causeway. Almost the entire length of the causeway is covered by a line of tall concrete towers, hard to describe but very impressive. Left over from WW2, these were placed here to help prevent any ships or submarines moving up the Firth of Forth and the essential shipyards at Rosyth. I hung around the Island for a while before heading back to the mainland, I could see the tide wascoming in and didn’t fancy a swim. For the next hour I walked along a nice and popular promenade, it was tough on the soles of my feet. I was pleased to finally arrive back in Prestonpans with tired legs and sore feet after a long first day on the coastal path.

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