Edinburgh Exploits

In this section are more challenging walks around Edinburgh, mostly over 5 miles in length. I look forward to adding to these when the restrictions end. During the lockdowns, I focussed on shorter local walks which can be found in my City Strolls and Leith Loping sections. They would suit people who just wants to get out of the house avoiding busy roads as much as possible. Check the sidebar for my other site links


Macdonald Road Library to Boardwalk Beach Club. Linear (5.8 miles / 9.3 km).
Powderhall to Cramond Brig. Linear (6.25 miles / 10 km)
Arthur’s Seat via the Radical Road Circular. (Presently closed)

Macdonald Road Library to Boardwalk Beach Club

This is a 5.8 mile / 9.3 km linear walk beginning at Macdonald Road Library at the junction of Leith Walk and Macdonald Road. It begins by heading up Macdonald Road to the entrance to St Marks footpath opposite. When the path crosses the bridge over the Water of Leith, turn immediately to the right and follow the river until you reach the junction with Victoria Path. Head up this path following the signs for Newhaven through Victoria Park, under Ferry Road, around a hairpin bend where you will need to read the signs. Eventually after passing under several roads and railway bridges you will see a sign on the right for Newhaven (Hawthornvale) which you should follow to the main road..

Newhaven Harbour

At Lindsay Road turn left and head past Newhaven Harbour and along the promenade paths past Wardle Beach, Granton Harbour, and towards Silverknowes.

Watch for the turnings which take you away from the busy road and onto the promenade path along the Firth of Forth towards Cramond.

Near Granton Harbour

If you want to end your walk at the Beach Club, you can, or you can continue along the path beyond Silverknowes Golf Club to Cramond where you can visit the Island if the tide is out, and catch the bus back to town, by heading up the road and through the pretty village to the main road.

Boardwalk Beach Club

Powderhall to Cramond Brig

This is a short 6.25 mile / 10 km linear walk on level ground. The route heads along St Mark’s Path from Powderhall turning right on the far side of the bridge over the Water of Leith to follow the Water of Leith walkway as far as Victoria Path.

This path heads through Victoria Park following the signs for Newhaven until you see a sign on your left which says Newhaven (Hawthornvale). Here you head up the hill to Lindsay Road and turn left. Here the route heads around Pier Place slightly to the North of the High Street and pass alongside Newhaven Harbour.

Follow the road through Grantown Harbour before you divert onto the promenade which takes you all the way to Cramond along the Forth via Silverknowes beach.

At Cramond when the tide is low the brig to Cramond Island is revealed to complete your journey. Unfortunately the weather changed just as I arrived so I headed back fairly promptly.

Arthurs Seat via the Radical Road.

The Radical Road route is presently closed due to rock falls. I am leaving this walk here for nostalgic reasons really. As a regular visitor to Edinburgh for a long time before moving here, I first climbed Arthur’s Seat on a visit to the city.

From the station, I headed straight down the Royal Mile to the Radical Road, passed the parliament building by Enric Miralles, where I grabbed an over priced bottle of water from the canny ice cream van parked at the base of the crags.

I started up the crag at a fairly sedate pace in order to take in the views of the city from a new angle. This is a busy path where you are accompanied by a cosmopolitan mixture of people. I was asked several times to take photos of people against the panoramic views beneath.

The gradual climb affords some great views across the city, with Dynamic Earth in the foreground and Calton Hill in the background on the horizon. It is not long before the noise and bustle of the city is replaced by the sound of the wind and birdsong, which gives you a sense of escape.

At the end of the crag track the path dips down before climbing up stone steps towards Arthur’s Seat summit. From the path the first views across the Firth of Forth towards the Fife coastline start to appear.

Once I had scrambled up the final rocky pinnacle to the windy summit cairn, I stopped to admire the great views in every direction and pick out the city landmarks. Once I had taken in the view, I took the vertiginous clifftop path back to my starting point. Although this is not a wilderness walk, it is a unique feature which distinguishes Edinburgh from all other British cities.

Arthur’s Seat is one of the 1218 Marilyn hills in Scotland and is 251 metres high.

Postscript: In 2018 I moved to Edinburgh, so I am now lucky enough to be able to visit Holyrood Park and Arthur’s Seat more regularly.

7 thoughts on “Edinburgh Exploits

  1. Hello and thanks for posting. Edinburgh is such a great city. They are so lucky to have all that green space in the heart of the city. Calton Hill can get busy but weekdays or mornings it is be quieter and there are very good views of the city from up there.

    1. I liked Blackford Hill because you are looking back on the city, castle, Arthur’s Seat etc. with the Pentland Hills not far behind you. It’s only a couple of miles south of the centre and an easy hike. Yes I took a quick walk up Calton Hill on Monday evening but it was busy with tourists, some of them glaring at me for daring to stand in the way of their shot! But yes, next time I might try earlier in the morning. It really is a gorgeous city, architecturally and setting wise.

      1. It is a lovely city with so much going on. Sorry I was on the move so I hadn’t read your post carefully enough but I hope you have a great time there

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