Walking along the promenade to Cramond….

With rain showers throughout the night and morning it was jolly nice to see a bit of sunshine for our afternoon stroll. Along the promenade we walked, this time away from Edinburgh to the far reaching sands of Cramond Beach.

With a nice stretch of soft sand, scattered with a few stones and shells leading out to a wide expanse of low tide sand the beach was unsurprisingly quite busy with Saturday afternoon strollers and dog walkers.

The tide is on its way in and had just started to cover the concrete pedestrian causeway out to Cramond Island, so we shall walk out to the Island another day. The Island was a prominent look out during WWII with the concrete defences to stop any enemy boats from sneaking in between the lookout on the Island and the shore, still very evident.

At this point the River Almond cuts across the beach, separating Cramond Beach from the wilder Drum Sands as the Firth of the Forth wends it’s way inland.

As it wasn’t possible to reach Drum Sands we decided to follow the River Almond Walk up stream.

Past the pretty former little hamlet of Cramond.

How beautiful are these wildflowers?

Up past the weir…

Just beyond this point, we did an about turn as the footpath was meandering through woodland and in fact we would both rather be back down on the beach! A very pleasant 5 mile walk and rain free afternoon!

Two thoughts of the day:

Scottish rain is rather wet! Even the seemingly harmless light rain results in a serious soaking!

We are on the flight path for Edinburgh Airport but fortunately they seem to keep rather civilised hours.

A walk along the shore to see the Royal Britannia….

A wet night but the morning looked promising (looked, I said!) and was dry, so we set off along the coastal path towards Edinburgh. The tide is still relatively low as we passed Muirhouse Beach.

We didn’t stop for a play as we have a fair walk planned for today. The first mile or so was very pleasant walking along the shoreline backed by grassland but as we approached Granton we were soon trudging our way though semi derelict industrial ground which looks as though it may be in the process of renovation in places though too early to tell! Just beyond Granton Harbour we rejoined the shoreline and the rather unappetising Granton Bay.

We didn’t linger here either! All along the front here are relatively new build tall blocks of flats which either aren’t weathering very well or were not particularly attractive to start with – it does not have a very up and coming feel to it and were we not on a bit if a mission we would have turned back some while ago! We walked around Newhaven Harbour.

Then passed through another area of semi wasteland though I will say there are some pretty talented graffiti artists around – don’t you think?

As we arrived at the Port of Leith the now heavy grey skies started to shed their load and to make our day it was impossible to get a proper look at Royal Britannia as the viewing area was in the middle of a shopping centre which didn’t allow dogs!

We made do with a look through the fence and started to make our soggy way home, catching a passing bus for the last few miles. Not our favourite 7 mile walk but hey you can’t win them all!

Two thoughts of the day:

I do hope those graffiti artists are doing something with their talent.

Why make visitor attractions so inaccessible? I might have been so impressed by what I saw that I would have paid to take a look around!

Moving over to the East Coast and Edinburgh….

Well it seems the rain has backed off for a bit, with just a couple of light showers as we were packing up we were away in the dry by 11am. The journey of 85 miles, one of our longest so far, was also one of the busiest, driving through Glasgow (albeit via the M8) and into the outskirts of Edinburgh, but we did it without a hitch, even following the CAMC directions written on a post-it, rather than trusting the Sat Nav! The sun was shining on our arrival and we were soon settled on our pitch.

The beauty of this site, aside from it being on the edge of Edinburgh is that the shore is a short 10 minute walk away – so off we went. Now the tide was in so there was only a little strip of beach exposed, part sand and stone.

Enough beach for us to have a little play and for Poppydog to expend a bit of energy! We are looking forward to seeing the beach when the tide is out, as it promises to be a large area of sand.

There is a wide walkway / cycle path backed by open grassland (some sections mown and others left to run wild) which we shall explore during our stay here.

With views across the Forth to the coast of Fife, we are keen and excited to continue our journey.

A very different day out in Gourock….

Well it started to rain during yesterday evening and hasn’t really stopped! We’ve been soaked twice and got damp quite a few other times (nipping to the loo, fetching water etc.) – what a difference a day makes! Still as this is our last day here in Largs we have an agenda to complete, so waterproofs packed we set off for Gourock, our most north westerly point for this section of our journey – we shall be back at some point to complete Scotland from Glasgow and Edinburgh upwards. We parked easily (not surprisingly) on the front at the beginning of Gourock and as the tide was fully in followed the coastal path along the promenade towards town.

There wasn’t any beach to access, as West Bay, a mostly stony and rocky beach was completely covered by the tide, though Poppydog peered hopefully through the railings from time to time! Across the bay, on a clear day, the Argyle Peninsulas would have been in clear view and I guess the bay dotted with multicoloured sails was f all the moored yachts.

Towards the town some local children were enjoying the outdoor pool inspite of the driving rain.

Beyond the Ferry terminal and railway station lies Cardwell Bay, our furthest beach, looking equally stony beneath the tide.

Wandering back along the promenade, facing into the still falling rain was not the most pleasant experience, however this colourful display did lighten the spirit briefly!

Back in the car, we stopped briefly to take a look at Cloch Lighthouse…

And then for Poppydog to have a proper run around we called in to look at Lunderston Bay, the last beach on our list.

Clearly the best of the sand remains south of Largs! Still today we are wet and not terribly fussy – any empty beach will do!

Two thoughts of the day:

Why is it that when it rains it feels like it has been raining for ever and when the sun shines it always feels a very temporary affair?

So far since October 17, we have been travelling up the West Coast – I wonder what the East Coast has in store?

Oh my, our first island experience on Great Cumbrae…..

A cloudy start to the day but still warm and as the afternoon arrived the sun came with it! Today we are having our first experience of an Island visit by ferry – we are off on the 7 minute crossing from Largs to Great Cumbrae.

And what a happy little journey it was – first on and first off!

We decided to take an anti-clockwise journey using the coastal road which hugs the shore all the way round and we very soon came across our first beach – White Bay.

The road is mostly a wide single track road with plenty of passing places and little nooks to park up in on the way. There were few cars on the road but plenty of bikes and little scooters, both of which are available to hire in a number of places, so stopping and starting to take photos or explore further was never a problem. Our first stop was appropriately Wine Bay (not that I had any then but I am now!) a mostly stony beach though the tide is fully in.

We took the opportunity to have a play and a paddle as apart from a fairly constant stream of cyclists along the road there was no one about.

It really is absolutely magical, clear, warmish waters, misty island views (Bute), birdsong, the occasional chatter of passing cyclists – what a pity I didn’t bring a tent or we would have been tempted to stay awhile!

We did eventually move on to Little Skate Bay and just around the corner the larger and sandier Bell Bay.

Finding ourselves a little sandy nook for another paddle and wonder!

A short hop to Fintry Bay…

A stony beach, with a popular picnic spot on the grass above and also home to a very busy cafe with atleast 50 bikes abandoned outside!

And a particularly well loved (and indeed much appreciated) Toilet block.

A bit further along the road was this rather lovely memorial to those lost during the wars with no known graves.

Beyond which we discovered this little gem – Sheriffs Port Beach.

Here we spent a good while paddling in the shallows, watching the world go by and of course chasing stones.

It was nearly 5pm by the time we reached Millport, with the tide well on its way out, we wandered through the town? which was buzzing with people enjoying the sunshine, picking up or dropping off hired bikes and scooters, eating in the many street cafes or wandering along the promenade gazing at the fabulous views beyond the towns plentiful beaches – fabulous place to live – I wonder what it would be like to retire here? From the pretty little harbour…

Along the lively sandy main beach – Newtown Bay.

To the mostly deserted sandy Kames Bay…

And all the way around the crescent shaped beach to view the town from the other side.

One more beach to see – Ballochmartin Bay.

Then it was time to catch the ferry home Two thoughts of the day:

What a fabulous day we have had – up there with my favourites.

We will definitely return to visit as many if the other islands as we can – maybe with a tent?