Cramond lies on the south shore of the River Forth four miles north-west of the centre of Edinburgh. It is almost cut off from the western edge of Edinburgh. by a line of golf courses extending inland from the Forth, and its west edge is sharply defined by the River Almond flowing swiftly into the Estuary.
Since the end of the 1800s Cramond has become one of the most desirable of Edinburgh's residential suburbs. An attractive village atmosphere; the beach and the shoreline walks; and the harbour in the mouth of the river. All these prove a strong draw, and the more recent addition of a steady stream of aircraft passing overhead on their way into nearby Edinburgh Airport seems to do little to put people off.
The heart of the village lies to the east of the River Almond where it flows into the Forth. The harbour is home to a variety of yachts and the nearby Cramond Inn provides a perennial attraction. Behind the inn is the large car park designed to keep the many visitors' cars away from the harbour, and from here you can stroll along the shore to Muirhouse.
If the tide is out it is also possible to take the more adventurous walk of just over ¾ of a mile out along the tidal causeway to Cramond Island. But heed the notices setting out safe crossing times and don't set off unless you are certain you can get back well before the incoming tide cuts the causeway and returns island status to Cramond Island.
As you wander Cramond's harbour, village streets or beach it is difficult to imagine this village ever looking very different from the way it does today. The truth is surprising. Cramond has reinvented itself a number of times: the only continuing theme has been its links with the sea. The story of Cramond can be explored in an exhibition mounted by the Cramond Heritage Trust in the Maltings, overlooking the harbour.
Cramond's origins date back nearly two thousand years. When the Romans invaded Scotland for the second time they stopped at a line between the Forth and the Clyde and built the Antonine Wall. Between AD140 and AD142 they built a fort at Cramond to protect the southern shore of the Forth, east of the end of the wall, and to act as a supply port for the Roman Army in Scotland. The fort was abandoned in AD170, then considerably enlarged when the Romans briefly returned to Scotland under Emperor Septimius Severus in AD208.
By about 600 a chapel had been established on the site of part of the Roman fort. This in turn has been developed into the current Cramond Kirk. The building you see today was built in 1656, reusing a tower from the 1400s. There have been at least three rounds of rebuilding and renovation over the intervening centuries.
To the north-east of the Kirk and overlooking the River Forth is Cramond Tower, also built in the 1400s. With later mansions like Cramond House, built in the 1680s, this marked the beginning of Cramond's role as the upmarket residential area it is today. But in the meantime the village had another, very different role to fulfil.
The potential of the River Almond flowing into the Forth led to Cramond becoming an important industrial centre in the 1700s and 1800s. By 1799 the village had three iron forges, two steel furnaces, and three water-powered rolling mills. Seven vessels operated from Cramond Harbour exporting its steel to markets as far away as India. The iron industry failed in 1860 and the mills were converted to saw mills or pulp mills before finally disappearing at the beginning of the 1900s.
If you follow the River Almond for just over a mile inland from its confluence with the Firth of Forth you come to Cramond Old Bridge, or "Cramond Brig", until 1964 the main crossing over the River Almond on this side of Edinburgh. This dates back to the early 1400s and remains in use as a footbridge. The nearby Cramond Brig restaurant and pub remembers the old bridge.
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