Discovering Cramond Island, Edinburgh

Can you believe that in the midst of exam season, I forgot I’d even prepared this post? Our trip to Edinburgh seems like such a long time ago, and it went by in a whirlwind. I’m only just beginning to find my footing again. During our visit we stayed at The Wee Gem Cottage, situated pretty much on the doorstep of Edinburgh Airport. Not even 15 minutes away from The Wee Gem is the quaint village of Cramond.

I’d never heard of Cramond before, and we went there simply because we knew it had a beach. As it turns out, Cramond is pretty well known for it’s island. It’s a unique phenomena which I’ve never seen before. Keep reading to find out what it was!

We spent a full day making the most of the April heatwave. I didn’t do any research beforehand (which is unheard of for me) but I wanted to try and discover this new experience for myself. Needless to say, it paid off.

River Almond Walkway Cramond

River Almond Walkway

The River Almond runs all the way through West Lothian for a total of 28 miles. The walkway follows the course of the river that’ll take you all the way to the Cammo Estate country park – just down the road from the Wee Gem! I did part of the walk with my Dad, walking a total of 3/4 miles before deciding to turn back.

We began at Cramond Bridge, walking in the direction of the Cammo Estate country park. Along the walk we could smell a distinct onion smell. By distinct I mean, it genuinely smelt like someone was cutting onions all around me! At one point in the walk we found a board displaying information about Scottish wildflowers and plants. That’s when we realised the smell was coming from few-flowered leeks. They’re commonly found in West Scotland and North England.

Steep Steps River Almond Walkway

In terms of accessibility, the River Almond Walkway has a lot of steep steps and uneven ground. So if you’re planning on going, try not to take a pushchair and wear sensible footwear! At one point in the walk a scaffold-like structure had been erected to replace (what I can only assume was) an old set of steps. While it may be safe, I’d definitely recommend walking with caution.

Overall, the River Almond Walkway is incredibly picturesque. I’d definitely recommend doing it if you’re ever in the area!

River Almond Walkway Cramond Sign
Cramond Island Southern Tip

Cramond Island

Lying just off the coast of Cramond beach, Cramond Island is a relatively untouched piece of land. While it’s uninhabited, there are clear indications that man has once used the island. During the First and Second World Wars, the island was used for the purpose of military defence. This is shown by the gun emplacements at the Southern tip of the island and the military buildings at the Northern side of the island.

These buildings were abandoned post-war and are currently in a less-than-ideal shape. What once house military defences now houses graffiti, smashed glass bottles, cigarette butts, and urine. It’s not the prettiest, or most pleasant place to be, but it’s definitely interesting.

Old Military Base Cramond

Old Military Building Cramond Island View from Military Base Cramond Island

But with no boats going out to the island, how do you get there? When you see the images, you can’t quite believe it. I couldn’t believe it when it was stood right in front of me! The tide difference in Cramond is so dramatic that when the tide goes out, it reveals a mile long causeway going right out to the island!

You have to be extremely mindful when crossing the causeway. People have been known to get stranded on the island overnight for not paying attention to the crossing times!

Cramond Island Tide In Cramond Island Tide Out

We chose to cross at 8:30am during our April trip. The safe crossing times differ everyday so make sure you check the RNLI website for your specific dates! Beginning our walk at 8:30 gave us the opportunity to explore the island and make our way back safely in time for 1.15pm (the time the tide was due to come back in). None of us were prepared for exactly how small the island was, and we were back by 11:30am.

View from Cramond Island

A Word to the Wise

Stupidly I thought I would be okay to making the Cramond causeway crossing barefoot. Mainly because I was absolutely boiling and hate wearing shoes on the beach because of the sand. Don’t do it! I ended up being in incredible pain from it and definitely learnt my lesson. The causeway has an incredibly rough surface and is covered in various sea creatures and small sharp pieces of seashells.

Also, if you’re planning on heading over and want the island relatively all to yourself then definitely set that early alarm and head over in the morning! Not only does the fresh seaside air wake you up, but there’s only a handful of other people heading over during that time. When we were making our way back to shore at 11am there was loads of people just starting to make their way out to the island.

Cramond Island Causeway

Have you ever heard of or been to Cramond Island? Did you already know about the dramatic tidal changes?

Cramond Island Pinterest Cove

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10 comments so far.

10 responses to “Discovering Cramond Island, Edinburgh”

  1. Hannah says:

    This looks so nice! I’d never heard of this place before, may have to give it a visit!

  2. Chloe says:

    Looks like you had a great trip!

  3. Alice says:

    I’ve wanted to go to Edinburgh for so long but am yet to get around to it! Your pictures are absolutely beautiful and there’s nothing better than a long and fresh walk. I’ve heard about the tidal crossing before and I’m sure there’s something similar somewhere in Cornwall! It is absolutely crazy how much nature can change in such a small amount of time.
    Alice Xx

    • Awh thank you so much for you kind words Alice! It means a lot. I had no idea there was one in Cornwall too – I’ve never seen anything like it. Thank you so much for reading!
      El xx

  4. Barbara says:

    This looks like an interesting place. I’m very into history, so I think I would like Cramond Island.

  5. What an interesting looking place!! Glad it was a fun trip 😊

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Hello! I'm Elen Mai, the brains behind Welsh Wanderer and 20-something human biology student from (you guessed it) Wales! Welsh Wanderer is designed with the eco-conscious adventurer in mind. So stick around for sustainable living & travel tips!

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