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Cycle to Cramond

The easy (and pretty) way to get there

Biking Edinburgh

Edinburgh is a perfect city for bike riding. If you’ve done some research before you arrived you might have discovered it’s a city built on seven hills, so you might find that statement hard to believe. And if you’re already here and you’ve spent any time walking up and down those hills, you’ll probably think I’m nuts. But trust me, Edinburgh has a very cool and very accessible system of relatively flat bike trails which make a day’s cycle an option for even the most aerobically challenged among us – me included.

One of my favourite Edinburgh rides is to the tiny seaside village of Cramond, via the Roseburn Path. Most of the path is simple to follow but there are a couple of confusing points. I like to think I have a good sense of direction, but even with old school maps and no end of phone apps, I still managed to miss a turn and end up in the middle of goodness knows where the first time I cycled there. So below are my handy photographic instructions to help you avoid the same fate.

There is of course a way to get to Cramond via boring old roads, but I’m going to show you a much prettier route. This way is again great for any fitness level as it’s either flat-ish or gloriously downhill all the way there. There is however one small strenuous part, so depending on your fitness level you might want to make sure one of your group has some muscles and let them do the hard bit for you. See what you think below.

Roseburn Path

This is the rather uninspired beginning to the Roseburn Path, in Edinburgh’s west. Cycle yourself up that maze of a trail and you’re off.

Roseburn Path

It’s well signposted, so make sure you look out for these blue signs along the way.

Roseburn Path

Once you join the Roseburn Path, you’ll be cycling through lush greenery. Nice, right?

Roseburn Path 2

Much of the path is along old railway lines, so you’ll see plenty of railway bridges like this.

Roseburn Path

When you come to this intersection, you want to go left. Follow the signs for Queensferry.

Cycle to Cramond

At the end of this section, the cycle path just stops at this point in the above photo. But don’t worry, there’s more handy blue signs to keep you going in the right direction, which in this case is to the left onto Blackhall Path.

suburbs

If there’s anywhere you’ll take a wrong turn, it’s this section. It feels like you’re just cycling through the burbs – which you are – but again, follow the blue signs. You can just see this one there behind that yellow grit bin, so here you turn left. This turn is the first left you’ll come to after the photo above and is still Blackhall Path.

cycle to cramond

Mmm this part just gets more attractive by the second doesn’t it? This pole is a little harder to see, but look to your left and watch out for the blue stickers on a pole at the beginning of this pathway between local houses.

At the end of this little slipway, you’ll come to traffic lights. Cross over and keep cycling straight ahead, up a bit of a hill (don’t worry it’s not very long)and suddenly you’re in what I call Edinburgh’s Beverley Hills, but is really Barnton Avenue. You can tell the price of real estate has gone way up when the gates at the end of the driveway are suddenly elaborate constructions and every property has a name, can’t you? Well, there’s that, plus the houses are suddenly the size of small resorts.

Follow this road and you’ll go weeeeeee all the way down a big hill, through some barriers on either side of a golf course, along another section of hedge lined Beverley Hills properties and then come out at another intersection. Here you’re crossing over and going straight again into Braepark Road, just like the last set of lights.

cycle to cramond 2

Almost immediately there a bit of a fork in the road. Despite the possibly confusing blue sign on that pole, you’re keeping left.

From here you'll realise why I've made you schlep out this way. Suddenly you're surrounded by nature. And look, there's even horses. Well, ponies. So, as the sign says, turn right here.

From here you’ll realise why I’ve made you schlep out this way. Suddenly you’re surrounded by nature. And look, there’s even horses. Well, ponies. So, as the sign says, turn right here.

almond river 2

Ta daaaa. Lovely isn’t it? This is the Almond River.

Feel free to take your time at this point, stop and smell the Sycamores and commune with nature etc. The strenuous part I spoke about above is on its way, so you might benefit from a rest.

stairs 2

And here’s where you’ll have to work some muscles. Throw your bike on your shoulder and haul both of you up these steps. Don’t forgoet, what goes up must come down. There’s more on the other side, but of course, that part’s not quite as hard.

almond river more

A little bit further on, here’s the pay off for that heart pumping stair section – you’re rewarded again with a little waterfall. If it’s summer, you might see dare devil kids jumping off it into what looks to anyone who doesn’t live here like a sure way to get a spinal injury. But to a kid in the know, it’s ‘the deep spot’.

Once you’re in Cramond, you’ll no doubt notice these little structures below. And once you’re up close, you’ll notice they’re actually anything but little. This is Cramond Island, or rather the walkway to the island from the mainland. Cramond Island is definitely somewhere you’ll want to spend a couple of hours, but it can only be accessed during low tide, so have a read of my post here first so you’re all clued up and don’t get stranded overnight.

crammond walkway

So… once you’re ready to head back home, you have two options; back the same way, which means a long, tough slug up that Beverley Hills road you enjoyed whizzing down so much, or the easy but decidedly less attractive route.

Yeah, you’re going to choose the easy way aren’t you? Well, don’t worry, you can always say you just want to see more of Edinburgh. Works for me. Here it is…

cramond sea path

Follow the shore path pretty much as far as it goes. Depending what time and day you go, this might be pretty busy with mums, dads, kids, dogs, cycles, tricycles, wayward soccer balls and unsteady kids on skates. So maybe take it slow.

view of cramond island

I’ve said before that the Edinburgh coastline is not what we’d traditionally class as beautiful, but it sure does have a rugged charm, as you can see in the shots below.

DSC_9278

DSC_9277

DSC_9276

Cramond Island

I like how the low cloud here makes it look like there’s an island in the sky.

barriers cramond path

Once you reach these barriers, that’s pretty much the end of the scenery until you’re back on the Roseburn Path. Go through the barriers and cycle straight along the road in front of you.

cramond ride home 2

Once you see this on your right hand side, find the entrance (on the left of the circle thingies if you’re looking at it like this) and cycle up the left hand path.

cramond ride home 3

Stay to the left, cycling up the loose stoned path.

cramond ride home 4

These two paths come out in the same spot pretty much at the end of this row of trees but for the sake of my photo below, I went to the right. Whichever one you choose, when it finishes you’re going left.

cramond ride home 5

At these barriers look left and you”ll see the pic below.

cramond ride home 6

Straight ahead along that main road after you veer slightly right, there is an entrance to another bike path on the right hand side of the road.

cramond ride home 7

As usual, look out for the blue sign…

cramond ride home 8

… and here it is

cramond ride home 9

Once you go through this tunnel, you’ll be cycling alongside a busy road for a few hundred meters until you come to the spot below.

cramond ride home 10

Stay left here. You’re going to be cycling over that red bridge you can just see here.

cramond ride home 11

Over the bridge…

cramond ride home 12

And it’s pretty much a straight cycle until you come to this cycle intersection you went through on the way to Cramond. From this side, you’re just going straight ahead.

more more bridges

From here you’re free to enjoy the Roseburn Path for the next couple of kilometers all the way back to your starting point.

And just think, after all that outdoorsy fun, you can treat yourself to an Edinburgh sized pub-grub dinner and not feel any guilt at all. Isn’t exercise great?

Stuff to Know:

If you start your ride at the beginning of the Roseburn Path (Google map below), the closest cycle hire is Grease Monkey Cycles, only about 100 meters away in a nearby industrial park.  They have half-day rentals from £19 or full day from £26. They also have a delivery and pick up service.

If you’re staying in other parts of town, Bike Trax in Tollcross have city bikes from £17 a day and Leith Cycle Company in Leith have half day deals from £12 or from £17 for a full day.

If you’re going to walk over to Cramond Island, don’t forget to ask the bike store for a lock so you can keep the bikes secure on the mainland while you’re off exploring.

Cramond is about 4-5 miles (6-7 kilometers) from the city. Riding straight there with no mishaps takes about 40 minutes. But you’ll probably want to stop off along the Almond River or take your time in certain sections, so it could be anywhere from an hour up.

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