Edinburgh to South Queensferry, 27Km
I like Edinburgh. There are probably many interesting city walks exploring the streets and buildings and history of this great city. But the John Muir Way tries to create a wilderness experience in the suburbs, seeking out every dull footpath behind allotments, along dreary streams and patches of brownfield wasteland, surrounded by security fencing. I prefer to see houses and people.
Eventually I left Edinburgh behind and crossed the Dalmeny House estate, home to the Earl of Rosebery. The JMW was confined to woodland until we reached the shores of the Firth of Forth and that’s the point where the day’s walk was worthwhile. The Forth is one of the rivers here and Firth means estuary or coastal waters. What you get is a large area of mudflat and the little island of Cramond with its causeway.
However, the real spectacle makes a dramatic appearance when you finally leave the woods and you see three of the engineering wonders of the modern world: the Forth Rail Bridge (1890), the Road Bridge (1964) and the Queensferry Crossing (2017). The first sight of them takes your breath away and by the time you are standing underneath the rail bridge you are in awe of the engineering skills that created them. The rail bridge is still the longest cantilever bridge in the world and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s perpetual need for repainting was legendary until 2011 when an epoxy paint promised a 25-year respite, according to the guidebook.
My hotel is between the rail and road bridges so there’ll be more tomorrow and another engineering marvel on Sunday.