When I lived on the border for 10 years, I began visiting Edinburgh regularly for work, study and leisure, so moving here in 2018 felt like a natural transition to a place I had grown to love. Maps on my posts are courtesy of Viewranger & Ordnance Survey. Routes will be made available to download on Viewranger and some videos will be available on YouTube as resources allow.
Joppa to The Shore, Leith. Linear (3.9 miles)
Botanic Gardens to Lochend Park. Linear (2.6 miles)
Easter Road to Ocean Terminal. Linear (3 miles)
Arthur’s Seat via Radical Road. (Nostalgia inclusion as the route is presently closed)
Joppa to The Shore, Leith
This linear walk is just shy of 4 miles starting from the circular Portobello Promenade View which marks the southern end of the promenade at Joppa, and heading along the sandy beach at low tide (or the promenade at high tide).
There are places to stop for refreshments on the seafront at the junction of Bath Street, Portobello.
Follow the beach as far as you can go until you reach a curving wall where you head uphill along a narrow track onto Seafield Road. There is then a short, horrible stretch along this busy road, before you turn left onto Seafield Street. A short way up turn right where the signposts for Leith Links and Ocean Terminal take you on to the Restalrig Railway Path where you turn right. The path follows alongside Seafield Cemetery towards Leith Links, where you take a right along the path which passes the bowling club and the allotments.
Follow the path as far as Links Gardens. Here you turn right and follow the quiet road onto Queen Charlotte Street as far as a T junction where you take the left fork along Tolbooth Wynd until you reach the Water of Leith at a small bridge with The Shore to your right.
There are many bars, restaurants and cafes along this side of the river. Both ends of the route are served by buses.
Botanic Gardens to Lochend Park
This quiet short walk is a 2.6 mile linear or a 5.2 mile there and back walk, which uses a combination of cycle / walking paths and quiet streets, apart from two short sections on Leith Walk and Easter Road, which are busy main thoroughfares. The Botanic Gardens have places to eat, a shop and toilets.
The route begins at the East Gate of the marvellous gardens on Inverleith Row.
From the gate you cross the road and slightly to your left is a turning for Eildon Street which leads you to Warriston Path where you turn left. This is one of Edinburghs many pleasant tree lined paths for walkers, runners and cyclists which thread around the city.
Follow this path until you see a sign on the right for St Mark’s Path which leads you through pleasant St Mark’s Park, over the Water of Leith to the head of McDonald Road opposite.
Follow McDonald Road down as far as busy Leith Walk where you turn left for a short distance before turning right onto Albert Street as far as Easter Road. Here turn right for a short way before turning left at Albion Road. After a short distance turn left onto Albion Place which continues as Hawkhill Avenue. Turn right at the cycle path sign posted for Lochend Park
Follow the signs to Restalrig which will take you past the picturesque loch to the park gate on Lochend Road South.
Easter Road to Ocean Terminal. (3 miles)
This pleasant short city walk can be either a 3 mile linear route or a 6 mile there and back route; starting at Easter Road by Thorntreeside on the south side of the road and finishing at Ocean Terminal at the Port of Leith.
Restalrig Railway Path forms a quiet, green corridor through the heart of Leith, passing under busy Lochend Road and Restalrig Road and alongside Seafield Cemetery where there are glimpses across the Firth of Forth.
The route then heads towards Leith Links before heading towards the Shore and over the Water of Leith.
Once over the river you head down Commercial Quay to Ocean Terminal (soon to be reached by tram). Here you can do some shopping, go to the cinema or visit the Royal Yacht Britannia.
Arthurs Seat via the Radical Road.
Note: The Radical Road route is presently closed due to rock falls. I have left 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 one of my visits to the city. I headed down the Royal Mile to the Radical Road route, passed the parliament building by Enric Miralles, and 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 when time and weather permit.