Cramond is an area it is all too easy for those who don't know Edinburgh well to overlook. It is bypassed to the south by the A90 as it makes its way from Edinburgh to the Forth Road Bridge, and it is hemmed in on its western side by the River Almond; on its northern side by the Firth of Forth; and on its eastern side by a chain of golf courses which separate it from the rest of the city. Yes, anyone trying to avoid the evening rush hour traffic out of the west side of Edinburgh will sooner or later find themselves trying the road that traverses Cramond en route to what is often still called the Barnton Roundabout, even though it lost its double roundabout a decade ago. But for the most part, Cramond is only known well by those who live here, or who have been let into the secret of what a beautiful place it is to visit.
Against this background, you wonder how popular John Dods and William Scholes are likely to be with their neighbours in what is, in residential terms, a fairly upmarket and exclusive suburb of Edinburgh: because their lovely book does a great job in showing just what an attractive place Cramond has become, and as a result seems certain to draw more visitors to it.
"Cramond Through Time" does considerably more than simply bring the Cramond of today to a wider audience, however. Amberley Publishing's "Through Time" series allows local experts to compare and contrast historical photographs with modern equivalents, showing graphically how things have changed between then and now. This approach works very well indeed for Cramond, which has seen a great deal of change during the photographic era, but still retains sufficient in the way of fixed landmarks to allow comparisons to be drawn. Some of what emerges as a result is surprising, like the photo of a ruined Cramond Tower, which as most visitors will know has since been lovingly restored. We were also very attracted to one image which drifted outside the usual timescale of comparison for this series, an artist's aerial reconstruction of Roman Cramond, which really helps set the remains still visible today in context.