I had based myself in a B&B in Leith for the two nights of this trip, at a fairly reasonable rate for city such as Edinburgh. I had already worked out how many miles I could clock up on two successive days of long distance walking, and decided that I should be able to reach Prestonpans today. Although after yesterday’s exertions I was a bit apprehensive about completing the distance.
I decided to drive to and park at the railway station in Prestonpans. I then caught the 06:26 train to Edinburgh Waverley, and then had a short walk to the end of Princess Street to catch the 06:57 #43 bus to South Queensferry. I got off the bus very close to where I had parked yesterday. Today was forecast to be a dry warm day with lots of sun, and so it turned out to be.
The old cobbled streets of South Queensferry were deserted when I walked along them and although a small place, seemed to echo a rich history. What I did have on this beautiful morning was an unobstructed view of the Forth Bridge (the railway one) and I decided that this bridge was probably my favourite bridge, it had close competition from the nearby Queensferry Crossing and a bridge, about 5 miles from my home – Ironbridge in Shropshire.
Today’s walk would follow off-and-on the John Muir Way. I followed a good track out towards Hound Point and then SE along Drum Sands. The surrounding forest soon gave way to the impressive Dalmeny House, home to the Earl and Countess of Roseberry. I cut across the private golf course and headed along the shore a small distance. Even at this early hour there were many people out and about, particularly cyclists. At some point I knew I would have to divert inland for almost 2 miles, as the River Almond crossed my path, making its way towards the Firth of Forth. After crossing the River via the old bridge close to the A90 I headed north. The walk along the banks of the Almond was brilliant, full of rapids, a weir and a gorge, the walk was beautiful. Eventually the Almond emptied into the Firth of Forth at Cramond. I always associate Cramond with the House of Shaws in Stevenson’s novel Kidnapped, and John Laurie (Ebenezer Balfour) appearing at the window with Blunderbuss in hand to confront his nephew, David Balfour.
The next section of the walk was along the Cramond promenade which was really busy with runners, walkers, cyclists, dog walkers and others setting off on the low tide towards Cramond Island. I did think about doing an out and back to the island, but with the long distance yesterday and still having a long way to go on todays walk I pressed on towards Leith.
The outer suburbs of Edinburgh began to appear, but I could see I was still some 4 miles from Leith. Eventually I passed the large marina developments of Granton Harbour and then onto the Port of Leith. The whole area is one of huge residential developments that are still ongoing. The busy road seemed to go on forever and I was glad when I lost the main road which had been with me for almost 4 miles now. I was rewarded with a glorious down onto the Portobello and Joppa beaches and the sweeping coastline of East Lothian heading towards North Berwick. I also began to see the appearance of road signs for Berwick-upon-Tweed; another reminder of the end of my walking journey around the Scottish coastline. The promenade in Portobello was crowded and I struggled to keep my social distance as I passed through the throngs. By the time I reached Joppa, I had taken 3 or 4 rests and my feet are starting to complain.
I pressed on and began to fade as the miles ticked on, by the time I crossed over the River Esk at Musselburgh I had taken my fifth rest, as I contemplated the fact that I’ve just crossed over into East Lothian, my penultimate County, with just the Scottish Borders still to come. I struggled into Prestonpans and slowly made my way up the hill towards the train station.
Another tough day of 8 hours walking, even though I stop 5 or 6 times the rests are not always helpful as it gets difficult to get the legs and feet moving again after stopping!
NB: I also publish all my Scottish Blog entries on the excellent Scottish Hills website, I use the same narrative, but larger photos and a few extra ones. They can be found here:
Distance today = 23 miles
Total distance =6,225 miles