This is our first Newsletter since our well attended AGM in April – many thanks to all that came along. Many thanks too to all those who have renewed their membership and a welcome to new ones. It would be greatly appreciated if anyone that has not yet renewed would take the time to do so as strong numbers are vital to much that we set out to do.
STOP PRESS – DOWIES MILL WEIR
Coinciding with the ‘going to press’ of this Newsletter came the release of the Council report on the responses to the public consultation earlier this year. This is a stage in the process that will lead to a proposal being submitted to the appropriate Council committee. It had been hoped that account would have been taken of what was the large majority view that the original proposal was gravely flawed and that providing a proper survey was undertaken, repairing and adapting the current weir would be the best solution and would avoid the visual and environmental damage and would cost less. A brief look at the new paper indicates that this is regrettably not the case and we will take a considered view of this and report back. The report can be viewed at https://consultationhub.edinburgh.gov.uk/bi/dowies-mill-weir-fish-migration-improvement/consult_view/.
WORK PARTIES & PROJECTS
In recent months we have, in conjunction with the Council, improved three particularly bad sections of the path. After the serious test of the recent heavy rain they seem to be standing up to the challenge well. A work party barrowed fine top surfacing to the path at Haugh Park by the Brig to make it easier under foot while others engaged in a local litter pick. The improved section by the turning circle at Dowies Mill is awaiting a delivery of ‘finings’ and the same will be done there. As the picture shows, the previously dreadful path by Peggy’s Mill is also now dry but the drainage by its side, although improved, is not performing as planned. We are discussing if this can be improved.
Your Committee took a walk along the Walkway in May to check out progress and some ideas. We decided that as a new priority, the appearance of the entrance to the Walkway at Cramond was in great need of improvement. It is dark, overgrown in places and would benefit from some attention to make the entrance more welcoming. We have made a start and as part of a work party at the beginning of June, the opportunity was taken to start to cut back vegetation and to remove an enormous toppled over cast iron post. The main purpose of the party was to weed part of the informal planted area just inside the entrance.
We would also like to plant suitable screening plants along the fence line to add a bit more colour. We need to take account of the boat club requirements before we can decide what will be suitable and are in discussion with them. We also thought of commissioning a large wooden carved object/sign to be placed at the entrance and will be discussing what ideas available craftsmen might have. We will come back to members should we find this to be a practical proposition.
COMMUNICATION WITH THE COUNCIL
We continue to gain enormously from the cooperation we enjoy with the Natural Heritage Service and in particular with our excellent local officer David Kyles. Even with the goodwill of ‘both sides’ communication is not always as smooth as we would like and we now plan regular meetings to improve matters. Recently David organised a ‘scraping’ of the Strathalmond path and steps section and very good it is too. We are less happy with the barrier that suddenly arrived at the School Brae car park. While we agree that vehicular traffic should be barred from the Walkway, we feel this barrier is out of place and presents an unwelcoming and visually strident message at what is the start of the Walkway for many visitors. From a distance it even might indicate that the Walkway is closed. We are in negotiations on this and hope for a suitable compromise.
CRAMOND PRIMARY PLOT AT COCKLE MILL
In Autumn last year pupils from Cramond Primary P7 classes planted more Fritillary and Star of Bethlehem bulbs. They also sowed Cornflower and Poppy seeds which had been so spectacular last summer. This month Red Campion, White Campion, Ragged Robin, Nottingham Catchfly and blue-flowered Viper’s-bugloss are all attracting lots of bumble bees! Passers-by have mentioned how lovely it is to see the colourful display. We now await the flowering of Cornflowers and Poppies and the children will shortly come to observe the insect activity.