A tranquil scene within the City of Edinburgh

Fountainbridge Walk – Canals, Paths, Ponds and Woods

I’m a big fan of Meetups and have participated in many fun activities and met some really great people by attending local events.  Walking groups are some of the most popular meetups in Edinburgh; many of the events have big waiting lists so I was very pleased to get a spot last Sunday for a walk with The Edinburgh Walking and Socialising Group from Fountainbridge to Morningside, through Craiglockhart Woods.

For some reason, I really hate walking out and returning by the exact same route; I much prefer walking a circuit.  I’ve been cycling and walking along the canal so I was familiar with the start of the walk but I always did the dreaded walking back the same route and never knew how to turn it into a loop so I was looking forward to learning new routes and discovering new areas and paths around Edinburgh.

The group met at the start of the canal, at Fountainbridge.

Canal Basin at Fountainbridge

Canal Basin at Fountainbridge

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We then walked along the canal, dodging a few cyclists and runners (I really love to see so many people out enjoying the paths and getting air and exercise) taking in the views of brightly painted barges, churches and wildlife.  The pace was sprightly, but still allowed for LOTS of chatting along the way.  Different walking speeds meant that my walking companions kept changing, giving me a chance to get to know most of the walkers in our group of 15.

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A tranquil scene within the City of Edinburgh

A tranquil scene within the City of Edinburgh

We came of the canal just before Meggetland, taking a bridge across the canal that lead us to Craiglockhart Pond.

I love that Vegware (eco packaging) is based in Edinburgh!

I love that Vegware (eco packaging) is based in Edinburgh!

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The beauty and tranquilty of the pond took most of us by surprise as we had no idea it existed, so close to the road and houses.  This is exactly was I was hoping to get from the walk – a glimpse into secret spots and paths.

Edinburgh Leisure has a great spot right on the Pond

Edinburgh Leisure has a great spot right on the Pond

DSC_3781editA woodland path led us up and away from the pond, through Craiglockhart Woods and Nature Trail.

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The rain of the previous days had turned the path into a river of mud, but we trudged along, all looking out for each other as we made our way through the woods.

Trying very hard to find the least muddy parts of the path

Trying very hard to find the least muddy parts of the path

Further along we had the option of leaving the path and joining the road, or walk up a steep, muddy but short path.  We voted for uphill in the mud!!

We quietly march up the short hill.....

We quietly march up the short hill…..

As we carefully picked our way along the path, our leader, Jan, commented that it was only time all day that we stopped chatting!!  Our quiet march uphill was rewarded with a view of the amazing buildings of the Craighouse Campus (once part of Napier University).  The 16th century pink stucco villa and sprawling brick Victorian buildings were eerily empty and boarded up, awaiting their fate with the new owners.   We took our time, admiring the architecture and the beautifully landscaped setting.  I studied my Complementary Healthcare degree with Napier and although I didn’t have classes at these buildings I did turn in papers and sit exams here.  It was a bit sad that they were no longer part of academia.

Buildings of the Former Napier Craighouse Campus

Buildings of the Former Napier Craighouse Campus

DSC_3798edit DSC_3794editA small opening in the otherwise chained up entry gate gave us access to the road.  We made our way along to Balcarres Road where there was an option to have a hot beverage at a local cafe.

DSC_3799editAt that point we had walked about 3 miles, and I had another 2 miles back to the starting point.  A 5 mile sprightly but easy walk on a mild, bright winter’s day, in the company of a lovely group of walkers……can’t think of a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Apparently, that sentiment was shared by all, as shown by some of the lovely comments left on the The Edinburgh Walking and Socialising Group meetup page:

“Really enjoyed the walk, thanks to all for good company”

“Really enjoyed that. Great to see a lovely part of the city didn’t know existed! And even better with a bunch of friendly people :-). Thanks Jan.”

“Thanks Jan. Enjoyed the walk and discovering hidden parts of the city, and the coffee and chat.”

“Thanks, Jan! What a lovely walk and great company.”

“Good weather and interesting route. A very enjoyable walk in good company.”

“Thanks jan for a really nice walk in good company. Just the right length for me!”

“What a lovely, chatty group – all went quiet on the short uphill bit ;)”

“I really enjoyed our walk with a really friendly group. Thanks a lot Jan.”

“What a lovely way to spend the afternoon. We had some exercise – met amazingly friendly people, saw new sights and learned quite a bit as well!!! Thank you so much to Jan for leading and organising.”

“Enjoyable short walk with a nice group of people. Thanks Jan.”

“Thanks everyone for your company – we were so lucky with the weather :)”

 For more information on Craiglockhart Pond and Paths:

 

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