is now a popular sailing location. The village lies beside the
Firth of Forth in the western suburbs of Edinburgh, about five miles to
the west of the centre of the City.
There has been a small ferry crossing across the River Almond at Cramond
since the mid-1800s, except for a few short periods when it has not
operated - the 'war' years, periods of ill health and recent
years. (See below.)
The ferry has provided a crossing, taking walkers from the eastern bank of
the River Almond at Cramond across the river onto the Dalmeny estate,
through which there was a five-mile walk beside the Firth of Forth to the
Forth Rail Bridge at South Queensferry.
ferryman's house is on the western bank of the Almond, seen in the
photograph above. From here he looks across the Almond to see if
there are any waiting customers. The ferry was propelled and steered
with a large oar at its stern.
two reports of of Mr Badura who was ferry man for most of the second half
of the 20th century. I don't know which report is the more accurate,
but the second certainly gives more background information.
ferryman, for 40 years from 1951, was Rudolph Badura, a Czech who came to
Scotland after serving in the Scottish Army during the World War II.
'Scottish Memories' (George Cameron): May 2005, p.38
In 1945, the Earl of Rosebery, the Cramond ferry
proprietor, advertised for a
ferryman. A demobbed soldier took the job on a temporary
basis, but when he found other work the position was offered to his
brother-in -law, Val Badura, an ex-Polish soldier who had been stationed
Badura took the post which he holds to the present day
During the years, he has seen innumerable changes. In 1947, the
ferryman's cottage, situated on the north bank of the Almond, was lit by
paraffin lamps and Agnes Badura cooked on a coal-fired range, the coal
being ferried by her husband.
At the ferry, the fare charged in 1947 was 2d per
passenger; nowadays (1988)
it is 20p. The old leisurely atmosphere is retained at Cramond with
Mr Badura responding to demand when prospective passengers shout or ring
the bell which hangs on the south side.
* NOTE: Rudolf Badura' job on the Cramond Ferry
actually began in 1951, not 1947. See 'Report 3' below.
'Ferries in Scotland' (Marie Weir).
pp.48-49. Publ John Donald 1988
Today (May 2005) the ferry is still not operating, and
there has been talk of a footbridge being built further up the Almond
to replace the ferry.
Cramond ferryman from 1951 until 1989, Czech,
Rudolph Badura, known to his friends as "Val" or "Bud", passed away in
January 2007, aged 82.
After escaping from a German labour camp
during WW2, Rudolph came to Scotland with the Polish Army. He
married here and worked at Gilmerton Colliery, but was crushed between two
coal carts. He was told that he would never work again, but went on
to operate the Cramond Ferry for 38 years!
He had lived in the Ferryman's cottage on the
Dalmeny estate, beside the ferry crossing, and became famous for swimming
around Cramond Island almost every day, reputedly stopping for a smoke,
half way round!
Edinburgh Evening News: January
16, 2007: p.19
ferryman, Robert Graham, discovered a large stone Roman figure of a
lioness devouring the head of a man, thought to be a funeral ornament,
just below the water close to the ferry landing stage.
lioness was removed from the mud and is now on display at the National
Museum of Scotland, Chamber Street, Edinburgh.
Romans are believed to have settled in Cramond around 140AD and again
208-212AD. The remains of a Roman fort can be seen in the grounds of
For how long?
to contain the foot-and-mouth outbreak amongst Britain's cattle caused the
ferry crossing to be closed in 2000.
The restrictions were
subsequently lifted but the jetty was declared unsafe and ferry has
remained closed. Speculation continues on whether and when the ferry
service might open again.
Planning permission has been granted to
re-establish the service and a grant has been offered by Scottish National
Heritage, but the Forth Estuary Forum and the Dalmeny Estate are still
discussing what form of crossing to create.
Edinburgh Evening News 5 October
replace the Ferry
For almost six years now
(February 2006), the Cramond Ferry has been closed. Access
to the Earl of Rosebery's Dalmeny estate on the opposite bank of
the narrow River Almond entails a 3 mile walk to cross the River
Almond further upstream at Cramond Brig.
However, a feasibility study is now to be
undertaken into replacing the ferry by a bridge, built over the Almond
upstream from the existing moorings at Cramond.
This study is to be co-ordinated by the Forth
Estuary Forum and will also involve representatives from Dalmeny Estate
and local groups.
The cycling and walking charity, Sustrans,
is reported to be currently working with Dalmeny Estates to establish a
network of paths for walkers and cyclists in the estate.
Edinburgh Evening News
February 16, 2006, p.23
Cycling Edinburgh web site now includes a map and details of a
proposed 30-metre bridge for pedestrians and cyclists across the River
Almond, a short distance upstream from the former ferry at Cramond.
This would avoid a 3-mile detour to cross the river at Cramond.
These plans have been drawn up by SEStran (SE of
Scotland Transport Partnership) with the help of JMP Consulting.
Cycling Edinburgh web site also includes a section for people to give
their responses to the proposed bridge.
November 12, 2007
Objections to a Bridge
Lord Rosebery owns the land on the west bank of
the River Almond at Cramond. His agreement is needed before a bridge
can be built across the river at Cramond.
However, he has objected, claiming that the
proposed bridge would "attract an unsavoury crowd to his estate".
He expressed his concern over litter, lighting fires, uncontrolled
dogs, motor cyclists and violent behaviour by groups of youths.
The Cramond Community Council and Cramond
Heritage Trust have expressed disappointment over the views expressed by
Support for another Ferry
However, Lord Rosebery said that he would support
a ferry across the river, provided that it was paid for and managed by
Edinburgh Evening News
December 6, 2007
ferry has been suggested for the crossing at Cramond to replace the old
rowing boat that operated until 2000, when it closed due to the
foot-and-mouth outbreak and a crumbling jetty.
Rosebery, owner of the estate on the west side of the Almond, has objected
to a bridge being built across the Almond on the grounds that it would
"attract an unsavoury crowd to his land". However, he says he would
have no objection to a chain ferry.
ferry would be guided by chains linked to both shores of the Almond.
A ferry operator would operate it by cranking a handle. It would
operate during the day, but not night, and would be able to accommodate up
to 12 people. It would also be able to take a wheelchair.
be likely to cost about £250,000, but Phil Wheeler, Edinburgh Council
transport leader has said that the council would not be able to provide
any funding for it.
Edinburgh Evening News September 26, 2008