24 March 2012, one of the first foggy days of the year in Edinburgh. Being sat on the Forth we get it a lot but today’s was pretty good in that it didn’t burn off quickly. With that in mind a trip down the Edinburgh coast was in order!
Started off at South Queensferry where the Forth Bridge was nicely fading into the fog.
Didn’t get up close with the Road Bridge but it was only just visible from the Hawes Pier
From South Queensferry it was a short hop along the coast to Cramond, by far the coldest stop of the day.
Ice cream anyone? Nope, not many seemed interested!
From Cramond next stop was Newhaven Harbour where I was photographing sunsets last night, today you could hardly see the Lighthouse which gave some surreal shots with the long exposure filters on.
Last stop, on the coast anyway was Portobello, very mild at Porty and quite busy despite the bleakness of the day.
Spent most of the day concentrating on long exposure work, this was the favourite of the day, very surreal.
On the way home as the fog was getting thicker I wondered if it was possible to get above the fog so headed for the Pentlands where the skies were blue and the sun was out, 15 degrees up there, 9 further down.
Not the usual for Real Edinburgh but we d get some nice sunsets… when it’s not raining. Calton Hill is one of the best places to get the sunset from October to late March, after that the sun sets more over St James centre, not quite as attractive a subject. So, here’s a few shots from the sunset last night on Calton Hill.
While I was there I hung about a bit for the twilight too to catch Jupiter and Venus over the city.
We’ve covered all these shots before but since I was going back over already travelled ground with the faithful dog today I stuck on the digital Holga lens and tried to get a new take. For those who’ve never heard of Holga, it’s more traditionally a film based thing with a very low quality camera with a plastic lens. What you get it imperfect images, soft focus, vignettes etc. The film version suffer with light leaks and can have some really strange effects. You don’t get to replicate that exactly with the digital version lens but you do get something very different. This is really what phone apps like Instagram and Hipstamatic are trying to reproduce. Welcome to lomography!
Regular readers of the blog will recognise the route, along the Union Canal with a shot of the Meadows for good measure.
Ah, finally I get to Cramond. I’ve photographed nearly every inch of this wee bit of Edinburgh over the years, usually with a ton of camera gear, today it was nice to wander with just a camera and a dog for company. I don’t think too many tourists every find Cramond, it’s pretty well tucked away and unless you know it’s there you’re not going to stumble across it by accident. That said, evidently the Romans did many years ago. I just hope they didn’t park their chariots in the main car park down here.
Much as Cramond is one of the better suburbs of Edinburgh that carpark seems to attact allsorts. At night, park up here and listen to the wee ned boys handbrake turning their shitty pimped up Corsa’s around peppering your car with stones. I’ve even seen it used for dirtier purposes…
BUT, getting away from the point here, lets take a daunder around the beachy area.
Lets start off with the view upstream from the mouth of the River Almond, for a good chunk of the year this is chockers with boats from the boat club, most photogenic.
And looking downstream to the mouth of the Almond where it meets the Firth of Forth. It’s not recommended you walk there at low tide, I nearly lost a good pair of boots in the mud.
Cramonds main feature is it’s Island and tidal causeway. There’s safe crossing to the island at roughly 2 hours before and after low tide. Really not that difficult to work out yet dozens get caught out and the lifeboats have to come from South Queensferry. There’s even a board with safe crossing times yet it seems to escape so many people. Rule of thumb, if the tide is anywhere near the causeway don’t go over. It floods about 3/4 the way down first and the tide comes in fast.
And the first view of the causeway and Cramond Island at low tide.
And onto the elevated part of the causeway. In all but the highest tides and roughest seas this part stays out the water. It’s one of those places as a photographer I’ve spent a lot of time at over the years. I’ve also had some very wet feet trying to photograph high spring tides etc.
When you reach the end of the elevated section if the tide is in, probably best to turn around and walk back but if it’s out and safe then you can get down the steps, when I stay steps I mean what looks like they were meant to be steps and onto the lower part of the causeway. If you stand down here roughly 2.5-3 hours before a high tide you can watch the water coming up the causeway and then nip back up to the higher bit. I’ve done it many times photographing the tide coming in and every single time I’ve watched people running back through knee deep water as they simply didn’t bother about the tide.
This is the view looking down the right hand side of the causeway, when the tide is right out and the wind is favourable enough water drains out here so you can cross onto the sand. From experience the sand on this side isn’t too bad to walk over (however it’s your own lookout if you find quicksand) but I would not recommend walking on the sand on the other side of the causeway, it’s VERY muddy.
If you look to your left here you can see Barnbougle Castle along the coast. I know nothing about this little castle so you’ll have to Google it!
Here’s a better view of the old WW2 defences along the causeway. It’s popular belief that they were anti-submarine defences but in reality they were defences against small boats, the water even at high tide is far too shallow for a sub, submarines were protected against by netting from the other side of the island to Fife.
And as we’re now on the beach a WARNING! Don’t be tempted to eat the shellfish… you’ll shit yourself bandy.
Scrappy didn’t think much of this particular sandcastle…
I’d like to think she’s thinking, “oh look, a handsome photographer”, in reality she’s probably thinking, “whats that fat bastard up to?”
It’s not a bad walk over the sand at low tide, but again, check the tide times and try not to sink up to your arse in wet sand. That’s Newhaven in the background.
A closer view of Cramond Island, it still has some of the WW2 machine gun posts etc more often used for toilet purposes no doubt for the frequent piss ups that strand themselves on the Island during the summer.
And lets finish up with the Cramond fish, this has been here for a while now and it’s not covered in shitey wee neds names in spraypaint. Remarkable.
I never knew much about this place other than it was on the edge of Wester Hailes and it was used for people to walk their Staffies and Rotties. It’s bordered by the Union Canal, Dumbryden, Murrayburn Road and Longstone and it’s quite a nice area, despite a recent mugging in the park. I was actually here to see the outdoor gym, not to use it you understand but found it draped in wee neds in tracksuits, not to train in obviously so I gave it a miss today.
This blog tells the history of the quarry more than I ever could and is quite interesting. I never knew it actually was a big actual quarry, and now I do.
Coming in from the Dumbryden side.
I’ll get the gym another day and there was kid playing on the adventure park thingy so to avoid a lynch crowd for taking pics kids happened to be in I avoided that too. Safter, especially here.
This is the view over the park towards Corstorphine Hill.
I have to say by this point I was surprised by the lack of devil dogs in the park, not that long ago 2 pricks with a Rottie tried to get it to attack the mum-in-laws Shih Tzu up here, can happen anywhere but sad to say, this sort of scum is about here a lot more giving the area an undeserved bad name.
Anyway onto the wee woods and what looks like an unofficial campfire site.
This was a bit Blair Witch…
This actually gave me the creeps, a giant stoney face?
And no visit to Wester Hailes would be complete without a view of the wildlife, here bigfoot makes his way across the park, clad in a hoodie and adidas joggies…
I’ve been pondering this blog a bit lately. When it started out I concentrated a lot on the city centre and your typical type street photography. It’s sort of evolved lately, it’s more an Edinburgh dog walkers diary now, walking the dog and taking the shots seems to fit quite nicely but it’s chanced the ethos of the blog somewhat.
I’m also aware that I’ve never yet made it properly into the residential areas. The main reason being that you simply can’t walk around a lot of these places with a big camera, it’s draws far too much attention to you. It would be plain stupid to walk around Wester Hailes pointing a camera with big lens at people. In the city centre you don’t get a 2nd look, head into the more notorious council schemes and you get more than a 2nd look. The more you try to look inconspicuous the more you stand out. There’s no easy answer to this one but I can state confidently I won’t be hanging around Wester Hailes centre taking shots any time soon, Real Edinburgh or not I prefer my face to remain unarranged.
It’s also been mentioned that I’m covering the West side of the city more than anything else. Well, the simple reason for that is I’m based in the west of the city. I could branch out further but to be honest, I know the west well, stick me in Gracemount and I’d be lost.
So, I’m going to keep going for now at least and see where the blog goes. WIth the winter finally looking as if it’s about to beat a retreat I’ll get my lazy arse back into the city a bit more and start studying the people of Edinburgh again.
For now though, despite the change in focus I do hope people are enjoying the blog as much as I’m enjoying putting it together.
And back to the Water of Leith again today. This time picking it up as it meanders from Murrayfield along to fashionable Roseburn. The original plan had been to head the other direction upstream but this met with a little problem to kick off with…
I’m presuming this is as a result of flood prevention works currently going on along the Water of Leith. It’s been over 10 years since the last huge flooding hit Edinburgh and this area got seriously hit by torrents of water. With that in mind, it’s astounding it’s taken so long to get the work in place to prevent it. Probably down to one objector who doesn’t want their view of the river from their bungalow to be ruined. Probably someone who wasn’t hit by the last flooding too.
Anway, here’s the offending river. There’s a whole series of bridges along this stretch, even more curiously, there seems to be a number of pairs of bridges for some reason?
And here’s our walk for the day, the Pansy Walk. No idea why it’s called that, I never seen one Pansy, floral or otherwise out here today…
The path follows the outer perimeter of Murrayfield Stadium, here looking over the training pitches with a club match in progress the day before Scotland were due to take on France in the stadium.
No walk near the Water of Leith would be complete without a pic of some ageing ramblers, whole gaggles of them roam the whole length of the Water of Leith walkway, fitted out like a mobile Millets.
Seems the overflowing litter bins aren’t just an issue on Calton Hill, the council doesn’t seem to bother with them anywhere.
And on to Murrayfield Ice Rink…
Here we enter the large expanse of Roseburn Park.
This was the first time I had ever set foot in Roseburn Park if I’m honest. Seemed like a game of organised swearing while chasing a ball was on at the time.
A magnificent example of community graffiti, no doubt organised by people with beards and sandals.
There’s clearly an issue with speeding cyclists in Roseburn Park, huge letters on the path tell them to slow down but I prefer this sign from Stephanie F…
Found myself walking the dog around the back of Murrayfield earlier, preperations for the visit of the French tomorrow well underway. I used to go to every Scotland match here but this year with tickets at £50 and £35 I’m making a stand and the SRU can piss right off. I’ll wait till the autumn tests when the tickets are a lot more reasonable.
The North Stand of the stadium with a watery pish… sorry, beer tent below. £4 for a pint of watery gut rot in a plastic glass. Champion.
A wider view of the North Stand, not a bad looking stadium actually, much better than the any of Edinburgh’s other stadiums.
Had hoped I might have seen the team out on the training pitches but it was not to be, this was the closest I got!
“Fish and chips please!”
“Certainly sir, would like to fill out the loan application forms first?”
Yes, Murrayfield food, dearer than the watery pish and just as likely to make you able to crap through the eye of a needle the next day.
Does anyone buy programmes at Scotland matches? I don’t, it would be guaranteed to be lost in the resulting pish up afterwards.
Even the pubs and hotels on Corstorphine Road were getting beer tents put up to cope the with huge amount of people that will be about here tomorrow.
Ah, this must be the VIP parking? A well worn Barbour wax jacket a must for entry…
One of my favourite spots in Edinburgh. Newhaven is possibly the best place for sunsets in Edinburgh, with a reasonably clear view west it’s a perfect location on a summers night. I first found Newhaven when the Harry Ramsdens opened down here, shame that shut down.
Anyhow, lets start a little photographic tour of the harbour and where better to start than the lighthouse, not like you could miss it down here now could you? Doubt it serves much purpose these days other than decorative but it’s nice it’s still here.
The breakwater here runs all the way around to the old Newhaven lighthouse at the entrance to Leith Docks which I’ll get down a photograph soon, you can walk all the way along if you fancy a dice with death, it’s very slippy along here. At low tide some pretty big rocks get exposure, you see where a typical high tide comes up to, I’ve nearly broke my neck on more than one occasion trying to cross the seaweed zone.
At the other side of the lighthouse is the Harbour entrance, again this is very low tide and the rocky sea bed is exposed. This is actually quite a popular fishing spot as well. No idea if they catch much but it’s popular none the less.
Newhaven is actually still a working harbour, among the pleasure boats there’s a fair mix of working boats still here, as the lobster pots show.
You can walk down the slipway and right around the harbour at low tide, it’s not recommended though unless you have suckers for feet.
You can usually find evidence of recent catches on the slipway, crabs, mackerel and today mussels are regular finds.
Looking towards the road you can still see where a transit van crashed through the railings last year and ended up stuck in the mud at the bottom of the harbour.
Talking of the mud, it’s a veritable cyclists treasure trove, fancy a fixer-upper bike?
And a classic Newhaven shot to finish off with…