Cramond Island: A Day Trip From Edinburgh

by LouDoesTravel
Cramond Island

Cramond Island is one of many small uninhabited islands that can be found along the Scottish coastline close to Edinburgh.

If you are in Edinburgh and feel like escaping the city life for some fresh sea air and country walks then this is the place to go. Just a short bus ride from the city centre will take you to the small village of Cramond. It’s here that you will find this tiny Island reached at low tide along a ¾ mile causeway.

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Cramond Island Causeway
Cramond Causeway

Best time to visit Cramond Island

If you decide to visit the Island then you must plan for the tides as you don’t want to end up stranded. Generally its safest to walk across in the morning around 8-9 am but these times can change so its best to check tidal times the day before. Tidal times can be found here and also on a notice board next to the causeway on the mainland side. It is really important to take notice to these times as the tide does come in very quickly and many tourists have been left for stranded for hours.

Cramond island tidal times
Notice board near the causeway giving the safest times to walk across to the island.

I wasn’t really planning to visit Cramond Island whilst in Edinburgh but felt like I needed a break from wandering the busy Edinburgh streets. I didn’t check the times beforehand and just hoped I’d be lucky enough to get there in time. I bought the £4 day ticket and hopped on the number 41 bus from the city centre and headed off into the unknown. I wasn’t really sure where to get off the bus, so I downloaded the Transport for Edinburgh app which came in very handy. Once on the bus I could track my position along the route and made finding my stop very easy! I definitely recommend downloading this app if travelling to Edinburgh! The journey itself took around 30 mins. Once off the bus I walked down towards the coast where I was met with some stunning views of the Scottish coastline and Cramond harbour.

Cramond Village
Beautiful Cramond harbour

Luckily I arrived just in time. I got there around 9 am and had only 1 hour left to be able to make it across and back again safely, so I headed straight over. The causeway itself is a lovely short 10 min walk and you can watch all types of birds digging for food along the way, if ya lucky you might even come across some crabs. Once on the Island the views are stunning, you can see right across the Forth river towards the famous Forth railway bridge and the new road bridge alongside.

The island is approximately 19 acres and rises to 68 meters above sea level making it an easy island to explore for a few hours. Unfortunately I only had around 30 minutes on the island but it was enough to take in the beautiful views and explore a little.

Forth Railway bridge from Cramond Island
The view of Forth railway bridge from Cramond Island

The island itself is now owned by the Dalmeny Estate but it was originally used to graze sheep, you can find remains of an old farmstead and an old jetty dating back to the 1800’s on the north side of the island. It is also thought to have once been the site of a Roman fort but there is no evidence to back this up. However in 1977 a very important Roman sculpture was discovered in the riverbed. The sculpture, a carved sandstone lioness is thought to be a Roman funerary monument, although how it found its way here is a mystery. Some believe it fell off a boat whilst others believe it was purposely dumped in the river.

The island also played its part during both World Wars. During World War 1 it was taken over by the war department and used to defend the Forth and then again in World War 2. During this time many military structures where built including several gun emplacements. Even the design of the causeway with its imposing concrete teeth were built to prevent German U-boats and other similar craft from passing through the harbour at high tide.

Cramond IslandC
View back towards the mainland from one of the bunkers on Cramond Island

Once back safely on the mainland I had plenty of time to spare so I decided to take a walk down one of the walking trails in the area. There are a few different walks to choose from but I choose the River Almond Walkway which took me around two miles from the Cramond foreshore to the historic Cramond Brig.

The River Almond once powered five mills, originally grain but later converted to iron working. As you walk along the trail you will come across the ruins of Fair-a-Far Mill, this mill was once the heart of Cramond’s industrial revolution. Ships came from as far as Russia and Sweden and brought iron to Cockle Mill just down stream where it was made into strips. These strips were then taken to Fair-a-Far Mill where they were melted down by huge furnaces to make tools, chains and cart axles. Eventually the the iron industry in Cramond closed down and the mill became a paint factory. However a flood in 1935 damaged the building beyond repair of which the remains still remain.

Fair-a-Far Mill
The Remains of Fair-a-Far Mill
River Almond
River Almond
River Almond
Beautiful scenery along the trail

As the trail continues you will be met with some stunning scenery as well as a lovely cosy cafe to have a bit of lunch or a quick coffee. However after this point some parts of the trail do require you to go up and down a series of stairs, so if this is an issue then its best to end the trail at the cafe.

River Almond walkway
The stairs going up along the walkway
River Almond walkway
The stairs going down along the walkway

If you manage to finish the trail you will reach the lovely Cramond Brig, this leads you back onto the main road where you can then either catch the bus back into Edinburgh city centre or go further afield and check out South Queensferry and the famous Forth railway bridge.

Cramond Brig
Cramond Brig
River Almond
Beautiful scenery at the end of the trail

Cramond Island is a fascinating and peaceful place, it makes an ideal trip to escape the hoards of tourists in Edinburgh. Its easy to get to and great for those on a budget! Have you been to Edinburgh, have you heard of Cramond? If so let me know in the comments below.

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Happy Travels,

Louise X

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37 comments

oliviarutt October 31, 2018 - 21:52

What a lovely nature escape! It seems like a relatively easy place to get to. Since the tides change. usually hitting low and high tide twice a day, could you have staying on the island until low tide again?

Reply
LouDoesTravel October 31, 2018 - 21:55

Hi yes possibly but you would have to wait around 10 hours I believe which although it a lovely island there isn’t a lot to do there. Time would be best spent exploring the nearby trails and village.

Reply
Becky October 31, 2018 - 16:32

I’ve never heard of this place before but it definitely looks like a great day trip! Scotland has definitely been on my travel bucket list so I might pay Cramond island a visit when I end up going someday, so thanks for sharing! 🙂

Reply
LouDoesTravel October 31, 2018 - 18:51

Hope you do get the chance to visit! You won’t be disappointed 👍

Reply
thenatteringnomad October 31, 2018 - 14:54

Oh what a perfect little day trip! Gutted I didn’t know about this place when I was living in the UK! Great post!

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LouDoesTravel October 31, 2018 - 14:54

Thank you, such a shame you never got to visit.

Reply
earthsmagicalplaces October 31, 2018 - 12:56

This looks like the perfect day trip! Love exploring the coast, can’t wait to visit Scotland soon! Will definitely be adding this to my list when I do 🙂

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LouDoesTravel October 31, 2018 - 13:06

Hope you have s fabulous trip, you’ll love it!

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Katie October 31, 2018 - 12:09

I’ve been dreaming about visiting Scotland forever now and this is making me want to go even more! Never knew this place existed. Bookmarking for sure!

Reply
LouDoesTravel October 31, 2018 - 12:44

Hope you get the chance to visit some time it’s such a beautiful place.

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