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Cramond Association Newsletter

Read the April newsletter here.

There’s been so much going on!

In 2016-17 more people took part in and enjoyed the events and work parties run by the Cramond Association than ever before. And we welcome anyone who wants to join us. The highlights of the year include:

Providing a stimulating and informative series of activities: We have had an excellent programme of activities in 2016-17, including monthly talks such as ‘The Scottish Colourists and Modernism’ by Guy Peploe, Director of the Scottish Gallery. Guy is a world expert on the subject, and his grandfather was the artist SJ Peploe. We had an overwhelming audience of people who love the wonderful artists called the Colourists, and were interested to hear more of their legacy. ‘The Mouth of the Harbour’, 1910, by SJ Peploe, RSA, (right) was painted by his grandfather. The Programme Group, led by Adam Cumming, also organised the Carols by Candlelight event which is always a great start to the Christmas festivities.

Managing our internal affairs effectively: Our Vice President, Prof Anthony Seaton, CBE, led the working group which enabled the Association to become a Scottish charity, number SC047183. This means that we will be able to attract Gift Aid and other funding much more easily

Improving the environment: We take an active interest in improving the community around us – dealing with planning issues, liaising with the airport about airport noise, and improving our local environments. Our influence stems from our membership numbers – we have over 600 households (not individuals) and we work closely with the Cramond and Barnton Community Council to make sure your views are heard.  

As members of the Cramond and the River Almond Walkway Interpretation Group, we have helped develop three orientation notice boards to be sited at the main entrance points for visitors to Cramond, such as the car park and the Foreshore. The Group is also organising fingerposts and waymark posts to help residents and visitors find their way around the new Cramond Heritage Trail. Still to come are three interpretation boards to tell the stories of Cramond Village, the Harbour and Cramond Island as well as the mills along the River Almond Walkway. The Group has developed a new Cramond Portal website and a Historic Cramond app with the University of St Andrews: www.openvirtualworlds.org/2015/10/25/historic-cramond

Dr Stefan Slater has organised numerous working parties of willing hands to construct new footpaths in Cramond Kirk woods (pictured left), which are now much used by grateful families and dog walkers.

He has also led the Association’s representations in response to Edinburgh Airport’s consultation on flight path changes and our endeavours to reduce the noise level of the planes overflying Cramond.

Planning: Alan Brebner, our Planning Adviser, has been tireless in scrutinising planning applications and we spent a great deal of time on the proposed monolithic care home in Cramond, but unfortunately the Council decided this was an acceptable building in a conservation area!

History Section: This has been another successful year with 50 members and often many more at the talks, which covered areas as diverse as Scottish emigrants in North America and the Great Tapestry of Scotland. The annual outing to the National Mining Museum was very informative. Thanks are due especially to Una and Tom Woof, who announced their retirement as Secretary and Treasurer respectively, after many years of valuable leadership. Norah Carlin is now the Convenor.

Collaborative working with other organisations: We have worked hard to coordinate our work with other organisations by having our representatives join them, for example, Bert Scott on Cramond Heritage Trust (CHT) and the Cockburn Association. We have liaised with the local organisations through the Cramond Collaborative which meets quarterly to share information and ensure positive joint working.

The Association has actively worked with the Friends of Cramond Campus, who are campaigning to ensure that sports facilities are provided on the former playing fields (pictured right) instead of being completely covered with new housing. Finally, we have worked with representatives of local organisations to develop the Vision 2030 for Cramond on improving our locality in new and inspiring ways.

Publicity and website: Richard Bright has done a marvellous job in organising a new website which will shortly go live. Ian Huggan has worked unremittingly to keep our own notice boards fresh and uptodate and to maintain an excellent relationship with Cramond Kirk. We now have a Facebook page: Cramond Association which is growing in popularity every month with page visits up by 80%. We have maintained the Association’s website and the monthly e-newsletter which goes to about 400 households.

Conclusion: We are fortunate to have such committed and inspiring leadership on our Committee, because this is the key to any successful enterprise. I would like to thank all our Committee members for their hard work and indeed everyone who has enabled 2016-17 to be another milestone year.

If you are not a member please join us! The membership fees are minimal and the Cramond Association provides so much for such a small cost. The full Annual Report setting out more information about our activities can be found on the Cramond Association’s website.

Margery Naylor, President of the Cramond Association
On behalf of the Committee (pictured below)


All papers for the Cramond Association AGM are available here:

Agenda for the Cramond Association and the Cramond Heritage Trusts AGMs
Summary Annual Report of the Cramond Association, 2016-17
The Annual Report of the Cramond Association, 2016-17
The Annual Report of the Cramond Heritage Trust, 2016-17
Minutes of the Cramond Association AGM on Monday 27 March 2017
Minutes of the Cramond Association EGM on Monday 31 October 2016
Accounts of the Cramond Association, 2016-17 - Statement of Funds
Accounts of the Cramond Association, 2016-17 - Receipts and Payments

Would you like to help develop and keep
Cramond and Barnton very special?

You can do so by joining the Cramond Association Committee!

Our Committee members are a lively lot, keen to look after our neighbourhood and to run an interesting programme of talks and activities.

You can get a flavour of all that we do by looking at the latest February 2017 newsletter here.


Or you can contact any of the Committee members – see their details here.

Come and join us – you will be very welcome!

Monday 28 November 2016
21st Century Archaeology: Trowels, Tourism and High- Tech Trends
 Dr Jeff Sanders, DigIt 2017, Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, on why the past is good for our future and providing a sneak peek ahead of Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology

Thursday 15 December 2016
Carols by Candlelight
Join us for an evening of favourite Christmas Carols and readings with mulled wine and mince pies. Entry by ticket only

Monday 30 January 2017
Polaris Submarines during the Cold War
A presentation by Jim Foster

Monday 27 February 2017
Continuing the work of Geddes: approaches for the development of Edinburgh’s Old Town
Nicholas Hotham, Head of Advocacy and Outreach, Edinburgh World Heritage

Monday 27 March 2017
Our AGM followed by
The Royal Society of Edinburgh
Prof Alan Alexander, OBE, FRSE, General Secretary RSE

Monday 24 April 2017
Enlightenment and the Scots Novel
Dr Fred Freeman, FSA (SCOT)

Meetings are held in the Millennium Room, Cramond Kirk Hall at 7.30pm


Campaigning To Keep Our Open Spaces




Update on action so far
The Cramond Campus Action Group has been working hard since the public meeting on 28 Sept 2016 to take forward the widely agreed proposals for the campus:

Members of the Group have met with many individuals and organisations seeking advice and assistance. In addition, the Campus was featured in the Visions 2030 exhibition held in the Cramond Kirk Hall on 12 Nov 2016. This exhibition looked at all the ways that the local area could be improved – and that includes the Campus.

About 80 people attended the exhibition and 60 completed questionnaires. One question asked “What additional types of open space do you think are most needed?” The answers were:

The best quote of all was “What a waste! It could be a wonderful area for walking, cycling, children’s play, wildlife, landscaping.”
You may have noticed a new name at the top of this article. The Action Group has decided that its name should be
Campaigning To Keep Our Open Spaces


We hope that you will agree this is a more positive name. We also hope that you will continue to support us in our work to ensure that the Campus is not covered by new houses and flats!

Michael Ramsay
Chair of the Friends of Cramond Campus

Past Events

Cramond Association Geology Walk

On a clear dry night, Wednesday 3rd September, 38 members of the Association set off in two (2) groups and enjoyed a very informative walk along the riverside from the Old Cramond Brig to the village. Our walk was led by members of the Lothian and Borders Geo Conservation, Angus Miller and Mihaela Newton. The GeoConservation Group had developed the new leaflet which was recently distributed to all households in the area (this outlines the Geological History of Cramond). Many of us had attended a presentation from Angus in November 2013, now we were going to walk the talk.  And what a fascinating walk this was. 

For most of us we were very familiar with the riverside, but on this occasion it was a walk with a specific interest in mind, the geology of the area and how it was formed.  Although we were in very familiar territory we were cast back 350 million years to Scotland’s Carboniferous Period.

Before each group set off we were being told of the formation of the global land mass we call Scotland, then following the volcanic eruptions, how the sand and mud were deposited and formed the sandstone and mudstone that is prevalent in the area and how the igneous intrusions (hill shapes) formed when the magma cooled and crystalized. We were then thrust into the Ice Age and being told of the land mass changes which took place around 2 million years ago. Then closer to home when some 20,000 years ago the last Ice sheet, over 1 kilometer in thickness, formed the lakes and streams of Scotland and when the main thrust of the water, coming through the soft ground formed the valleys and headed out to the oceans. It was these Ice flows which were deemed to have cut through the bedrock around the Grotto Bridge and directed the waters down what we know today as the River Almond gorge flowing out to the River Forth. 

This historic geological activity has formed the riverside that we all know today.  The cutting of the gorge and the fall of the river has helped our historic past by enabling the waters to be of sufficient volume as to drive the old corn and iron mills and provide us with such a rich historical past.

Dolerite boulder

The Dolerite boulder at Dowie’s Mill

Group 1- with Angus at the top of the Salvesen Steps.

Group 1 - with Angus at the top of the
Salvesen Steps.

Group 2, with Mihaela, still quizzing and checking the geological history.

Group 2, with Mihaela, still quizzing
and checking the geological history.

As we set off towards Dowie’s Mill we came to the large dolerite boulder.  We had all past this before but had not stopped to consider how and why it was here.  Standing approx’ 3 feet in diameter, we learned of how the ice had moved this rock down through the valley and deposited it in the area and how its mineral composition is quite different to that of the other rocks (sandstone) that are found in the area.

Further on we were in familiar territory with the pathway and ruins of the mills around us leading to that great gorge (cutting) which obstructed the passage between Cramond Brig and the Village for centuries until the Salvesen Steps were constructed and allowed us to enjoy the walk along the length of the river.

Angus is questioned by members of the group as to how the river gorge at the Salvesen Steps was formed and on the sandstone of the Craigie Mill Quarry.  They then head down stream closer to Fair a Far Mill where he is able to show them the great shelf of planar cross-bedding and explain how these were formed by an ancient river that flowed south from the distant mountains.

As the members headed downstream they could more clearly get their thinking around Coble Mill and the finding of the Cramond Lioness (as this had happened in their lifetime and therefore more easily understood). Then further on towards the mouth of the River Almond where they could see that great bedrock mass of sandstone called Eagle Rock, the raised beaches and Cramond Island. – this sill was formed by sideways intrusion that created a horizontal layer parallel to the existing sedimentary rock, the joint of which can be seen at low tide.

Bill Weir
Cramond Association.

To learn more of the Geology of Scotland – visit www.geowalks.co.uk


Roman Fort Excavations

Visitors at the Roman Fort dig
Visitors at the Roman Fort dig

The City Council's Archaeologist has recently completed a successful community-based archaeological excavation at Cramond's Roman fort.  This was initially an attempt to uncover a third occupation phase and provisional findings have confirmed that there was another fort based at the site, prior to the two Roman occupations already known. Whether this is Roman or not has yet to be confirmed. 

Items of interest found during the six-week-long dig have included: two Roman daggers, a bronze cup, a couple of early Antonine coins, various other metalwork including metal work from leather Roman armour and barrel-loads of pottery.

A selection of the items found is on display at the Maltings in Cramond village, courtesy of Cramond Heritage Trust. This part of the site will be landscaped to enable visitors to see the remains of the Roman Fort. The paths will be reinstated and expanded to enable wheelchair access to the site. At the moment they are temporarily covered to protect them until consolidation work can be carried out in the spring of 2009, prior to the final landscaping. All funds are in place to enable this final phase of the project to be completed.

Large quantities of human bone fragments were also discovered in the area between the Kirk Hall and the east wall of the kirkyard. This implies that Cramond Kirk’s graveyard had been much larger during medieval times. Beneath these fragments were what appeared to be more complete skeletons resting above the Roman level, although excavation was stopped at this point to avoid disturbance of the burials. This part of the site has now been backfilled and will be properly landscaped once the ground has settled.

The Corner Project

A four-year campaign to raise £75,000 for a new play park has now paid off for a youth group in Cramond, Edinburgh. The Corner Project was set up by Cramond’s Sunday Plus Youth Group in 2004 as a direct response to the area’s lack of facilities for young people.  Thanks to their fundraising efforts, and with a little help from Cramond Heritage Trust, Edinburgh’s newest play park is now open!

The park has been created in the walled garden, behind Cramond Kirk Hall, and follows extensive consultation with young people from the local area and City of Edinburgh Council. Attractions include a wide selection of the latest in cutting-edge play equipment.

Revd Dr Russell Barr of Cramond Kirk said: “From the very happy sound of children laughing and playing that comes across to the Manse from the walled garden, I know that the park has long been a favourite place for Cramond families. The new facilities have greatly enhanced the attraction and it is very encouraging to see that it is often very busy. Sunday Plus has provided a wonderful facility and is to be congratulated on their tremendous achievement.”

River Almond Crossing Update

The local community has been examining the possibility of replacing the old ferry with a modern alternative which would comply with the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act, a necessary process to enable access to potential grant funding for the project.

A design for a chain ferry with access via a hydraulically operated lift has been proposed. This has the provisional approval of most of the interested parties, including Dalmeny Estate. Further consultation and design refinement is currently underway.

former Cramond Ferry and ferry steps at Cramond
The former Cramond Ferry and the ferry steps at Cramond  (Colin J. Smith)

The ferry landings and Coble Cottage in the early 20th century (from a postcard by JR Russell)
The ferry  landings and Coble Cottage in the early 20th century (from a postcard by JR Russell)

Ferry Map

Ferry Map

Visual of the east bank installation showing the chain ferry, the landing pontoon and the lift platform.
Visual of the east bank installation showing the chain ferry, the landing pontoon and the lift platform. (by John Carson, Covell Matthews Architects and Quattro Consult March 2010)

Download the Cramond Ferry Feasibility Study and Business Plan Executive Summary