June 19, 2016

Water of Leith Walkway: Roseburn to Royal Botanic Garden

The Water of Leith is the largest river in Edinburgh, Scotland.  The Walkway is a footpath that follows along the banks for about 12 miles from Balerno to Leith, where the river drains into the Firth of Forth.  We hiked the portion between Roseburn and the Royal Botanic Garden, about three miles.  To focus our time and energy on the Walkway, we took a short cab ride from our Grassmarket apartment to the intersection of Roseburn Cliff and Roseburn Terrace.  The trail is clearly marked, and descends from Roseburn Cliff to the river via a long staircase.

Although it passes right through the heart of the city, the Walkway provides a refreshing haven of soothing greenery.  There are many entrances from adjacent neighborhoods, and while the trail seems popular with dog-walkers, it never felt crowded (considering the location).  For the most part, the trail is wide and level.  There is one section that is closed due to "landslip."  However, residents appear to be largely ignoring the closure and the trail is evidently still quite passable.  The trail passes both under and over many interesting bridges.  There is a particularly picturesque view from the pedestrian bridge in Dean Village.

We got off the Walkway to find a restaurant for a late lunch in the Stockbridge area.  We crossed the bridge and continued west, passing pizza and coffee shops, eventually blundering into Field Grill House .  What a serendipitous stumble that was!  Fantastically fresh and tasty food, highly recommended.  The menu was a bit advanced for Frankie's palate, so we ordered him a burger, and after sampling it, Erwin and I both agreed it was the best burger we'd ever had.

It was raining by the time we finished our lunch, so we layered up before rejoining the Walkway for the final short hike to the Royal Botanic Garden, where we'd planned to leave the Walkway for the day.  Because of the heavy rains, we focused most of our attention in the glasshouses, which are definitely worth the stop.  I would have enjoyed more time in the outdoor gardens and paths despite the rain, but closing time came soon enough and we caught a taxi back to Grassmarket.

I really enjoyed the Water of Leith Walkway!  It is a lovely respite from the city crowds.      

descending to the Walkway from Roseburn Cliff




bridge to Scottish Gallery of Modern Art




broad-leaved willowherb (Epilobium montanum)



Wych elm (Ulmus glabra)















Dean Village
Dean Village




really excellent lunch at Field Grill House



Gateway Building, West Gate Entrance, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Fossil Garden, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

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