I spent today adventuring around Cramond and Cramond Island. I have wanted to explore the village and the island for some time now, but have never managed to make plans. So when I saw that the safe crossing times worked with my schedule, I decided to make the trip a reality!
As I had never been before, I decided to get to the village earlier enough to explore a bit before the causeway opened. My adventure began at the Cramond Kirk (founded in 1656) before visiting the remains of the Cramond Roman Fort (from way back in 142). I then wandered around the village for a bit before making my way across to the island for some exploring and geocaching. I even stopped off to see the Cramond Tower (from the 1400s) and a massive fish carving on the shore.
Cramond Island is one of 17 tidal islands that can be walked to from the Scottish mainland. The 19-acre island is about one-third of a mile long and is accessed by a mile-long path along a causeway called the Drum Sands. Access is safe about two hours before and after low tide. (See safe crossing times here.) The journey across the causeway, around the island, and back took me about two and a half hours. That’s about an hour longer than most guidebooks recommend, but I stopped for a few geocaches, for a lot of photos, and a leisurely picnic lunch.
It is believed that the island may have significant prehistoric links, as at least one stone burial cist was discovered there in the past. It is also believed that the island was used by the Romans based at the outpost on the mainland. In the 1790s, the land was used to graze sheep and was farmed until the last farmer died in 1904. You can still see the remains of the old farmstead in the middle of the island.
Up until World War II, the island was also used as a holiday retreat. The old holiday home is along the north shore of the island, slowly being reclaimed by nature. And, of course, the island was used as a defensive post during World Wars I and II. The surviving war-time structures include a circular gun emplacement with metal runners, three elongated D-Plan concrete structures with small arms slits facing seaward, an elongated D-Plan concrete structure facing seawards, and one roofed concrete building with raised floor and internal trenches.
And, of course, the anti-Submarine pillars also remain along the paved causeway that connects the mainland and the island.
It’s hard to say what my favourite part of the island was. However, I really did enjoy the graffiti on the dilapidated military structures. It provided a great dystopian feel to the place – without the danger of a post-apocalyptic society!
Now that I know how long it actually takes to adventure around the island, I will be sure to return! I might even take an adventure partner with me next time.