Wednesday, 10 July 2013

toasted almond

If this good weather keeps up I'll be broke in no time. One last weekday foray - off to the River Almond to do the best parts of a couple of routes near there, namely the Airport Route and Dalmeny Estate. By cycling to the Cramond Brig and hiding my bike in the woods at the start of the Dalmeny run I got access to both these routes without the 10 mile run from home along the boring urban bit.

I had visions of the Airport Run being totally overgrown on the riverside paths just before the airport. The path goes under the Cramond Brig and upstream, crossing once, then going round the edge of the farmer's fields. Along the next section there was a bit of nettle jumping but it wasn't as bad as I imagined, the dog walkers and cyclists must be keeping the thin dirt path passable - although both sides of the river are thick with undergrowth and wildflowers.

Where the railway crosses the river at the end of the airstrip we turn left and follow the fields up to Cammo Road for a short section of road running back towards Cramond, then turn first left down Nether Lenny and back to the riverbank. From here a right turn and back to Cramond Brig.

How many horses in this picture?

This took just over an hour and I reckoned another hour would be enough. Out of habit I crossed the small bridge over the Almond and was taking photos of the miniature ponies in their field of buttercups before I remembered I would need to head up the hill past the Brig Hotel and turn right (past where my bike lay hidden in the trees) to get onto the coastal trail towards South Queensferry. The sun was baking and I was glad to get into the cover of the trees of the Dalmeny Estate.

Barnbougle Castle across to Dalgety Bay

I was perhaps beginning to wilt in the heat but there was less catching my attention than I had thought there might be. The tide was high in against the shore and so I mostly stuck to the path rather than drop down to the beach. After going most of the way towards Dalmeny House there is a small bridge over a burn that heads towards joining the Forth but never quite makes it. I spied a duck on this water and thought I might get closer for a photo. As I stepped through the deep undergrowth 6 ducklings swam out from their hiding place. I didn't get a very good shot of them and after running along to the big house for a couple of photos turned back and went to see if I could get a better shot of the ducks.

I have been enjoying the process of chasing butterflies, photographing them, then looking them up on google. It's a game full of challenges and surprises, not least being getting the blighters to stay still long enough for the camera. This (female) Ringlet (not to be confused for a Meadow Brown) required a lengthy chase and too many blurry shots. There is a very good identification website to let you know that the orange and black one from the other day was possibly a Dark Green Fritillary. It's nothing if not an education.

All the seeds and pollen tend to irritate my legs as I wade through the waist deep grasses and I have to resist the urge to scratch them to bits. (Like Pringles, once you pop you can't stop.) I went round the other side of the small river where I struggled through long weeds and grasses and the gentle scratching of my already itchy legs was bordering on ecstatic torture! I wanted to get into the water to cool my legs but it looked like I might never get out. Also those clever ducks outsmarted me - no sign. It takes a canny mother duck to get six chicks to maturity and these were all but there. I took some photos of flowers before returning to the bike ride home.

I won't include the mileage stats. I "ran" 10.5 miles, taking 2hrs although one of the miles was 20mins plus as I tried to hunt ducks and butterflies. I must reset the Garmin to auto-pause. The red button where I started is pretty much exactly halfway with 5 miles on either side. Garmin says the temp was 81'


  1. Have you been to the WW2 Gun Battery in Dalmeny Estate Peter?, it is near Hound Point.
    Looks a good explore!, on my visit list...

  2. I haven't seen it but my enthusiasms are more about the wildlife.
    I saw this in an article about Dalmeny estate...
    "About 800m beyond the clearing the track turns sharply to the right. It is worth taking a detour onto Hound Point headland, which, according to folklore, is haunted by a dog owned by Sir Richard Mowbray who died on the Crusades. The views from Hound Point are magnificent. There are numerous points of interest including Inchcolm Island with its old abbey and the Forth Bridge. Opposite the turning to Hound Point and up the hill within the woodland are the remains of World War I gun emplacements, part of the Forth naval defences.
    The only photos I could see were on this outdoor enthusiasts page of making wooden shelters. Date Feb this year - wonder if it's still there? (Their shelter - looks cosy but no wifi.)

  3. I look forward to you giving it a thorough blogging!

  4. Hah! Get back to work. Lazeee dog.

  5. Roll on the weekend! I want some running fun too. I've had to make do with scrappy runs this week- the odd mile here and there... The sun better hang about!