3.7 of 5 (5 votes)

Water of Leith

A moderate walk (riverside) starting and finishing in City of Edinburgh, Scotland, about 13.60km (8.45 mi) long with an estimated walking time of about 4:00h. It is suitable for families with children, but unsuitable for prams & pushchairs, wheelchairs.
Elevation Profile
Ascent 9m (29ft)
Descent 155m (508ft)
Max. Elevation 170m (557ft)
Altitude Gain & Loss 164m (537ft)
Distance 13.60km
Duration ~4:00h
Created by Anonymous Walker on 29 Aug 2011
Balerno to Canonmills: A secret green ribbon from Edinburgh's most far-flung suburb into the very centre of the city. 

Walk Functions


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Walk Map

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OS Grid NT163668
From the bus stop, walk back along the bus route in to Balerno. Cross the river, pass the school, and on your right you will see the sign pointing downstream to the Water of Leith walk. Leith harbour, 13 miles!
OS Grid NT212689
At this point you have a choice. Continue on the walkway through an electrically-lit tunnel to the lovely open wooded gorge of Colinton Dell. Alternatively take steps up to Bridge Road and walk down Spylaw Street to look at old village of Colinton with its quaint bridge and church. The first route keeps you high above Colinton Dell, the second closer to river.
About 5.37 km (~3.34 miles) from
OS Grid NT220707
Congratulations, you are over half-way through the walk! Cross busy Lanark Road to the visitor centre where the Union Canal viaduct towers over the Water of Leith visitor centre. You are back in the city and can get a bus to the centre from here. Alternatively carry on the peaceful path past allotments, a cemetery and Saughton Prison.
About 1.98 km (~1.23 miles) from
OS Grid NT217715
Busy Gorgie Road has a new pedestrian crossing making it easy to continue the walk. The next mile is a bit more disjointed than what has come before, but it becomes much nicer at Murrayfield.
About 0.87 km (~0.54 miles) from
OS Grid NT222727
You now pass Murrayfield stadium. You might see rugby players practicing for the big game, or cricket players in summer. Lots of cherry blossom in spring, and in the distance Allermuir Hill in the Pentlands. Pat yourself on the back as you have now walked further than the distance to Allermuir hill! Watch out for ducks - and dog poo left by all the dog walkers!
About 1.32 km (~0.82 miles) from
OS Grid NT230733
The loveliest part of the whole walk - with the arguable exception of Colinton Dell - now begins. Look out for ducks and herons.
About 0.95 km (~0.59 miles) from
OS Grid NT237736
A footbridge across the water leads to MOMA and the Dean Gallery on the hill above. Note the statue of Anthony Gormley collecting branches and other debris. There are six in the river. Apparently the one at Leith Harbour is particularly hard to spot. Perhaps it is under water at high tide?
About 0.76 km (~0.47 miles) from
OS Grid NT251750
After passing through Stockbridge and admiring the Stockbridge Colonies, built for artisans in the 19th century and now much sought after as middle-class housing, arrive at the public clock at Canonmills. From here it is possible to take a bus back into the centre of town, or visit Edinburgh's wonderful Botanic Garden. It is also possible to continue into Leith but the path is disjointed and you don't see much of the river until you get into Leith itself. End on a high note and treat yourself to a tea/beer in an Edinburgh cafe/pub!
About 2.01 km (~1.25 miles) from

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