The Abandoned ‘Ghost Island’ Just Outside Edinburgh With Protective ‘Teeth’ You Can Only Reach On A Low Tide

Edinburgh is a fantastic destination if you’re into exploring enigmatic sites. Don’t limit yourself to just the historic Old Town though. Just a little outside the city, near the Firth of Forth, lies an eerie abandoned island that you can still visit today.

However, there’s a bit of a catch. You’ll need to time your visit just right because Cramond Island is accessible only when the tide is low, and you can walk to it using a man-made causeway that stretches for a mile.

This tidal island is linked to the mainland by the Drum Sands, and the paved pathway makes the journey much smoother and safer. Interestingly, this pathway was built during World War II to block enemy ships and submarines from passing through the channel between the island and the mainland when the tide was high. They even built sturdy concrete structures resembling teeth to deter anyone attempting to cross during high tide. Even today, it’s crucial to cross at the proper times to avoid getting trapped by the incoming water. So, be sure to check the noticeboard on the mainland side for tide timings.

Cramond Island is now completely uninhabited, but that hasn’t always been the case. The army discovered an ancient burial site from prehistoric times, and the island is known to have been visited by the Romans. It’s possible that the island held special meaning for the people living along the Lothian coast. The island has a history that includes a lethal duel in 1596 and its use for sheep grazing at one point.

During World War I, the island was armed with two 14 x 12-pdr guns, and an anti-submarine net was installed between Cramond and other islands. The island’s defenses were strengthened again in World War II with the construction of a boom connecting it to the mainland.

After the war, Cramond was abandoned and the military personnel stationed there left. However, the remnants of that era remain, including concrete bunkers that have become canvasses for graffiti artists. The Atlas Obscura website aptly describes it as a “ghost island” and mentions its unique atmosphere created by the combination of wilderness, wartime artifacts, and contemporary graffiti. Despite being just a third of a mile in length, you can enjoy views of the three Forth bridges from its highest point.

Cramond is one of only 17 tidal islands in Scotland that can be accessed by walking from the mainland. The journey starts from Cramond Beach, located within the city limits of Edinburgh, and it’s only about six miles away from the city center – around a 25-minute car ride.

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