Edinburgh To Dunfermline By Queensferry
ROUTE LENGTH: 18 MILES
The route starts within the castle walls at St Margaret’s chapel – the oldest surviving building in the city. A short way down the Royal Mile you will come to St Giles ‘Cathedral’.
To leave Edinburgh, drivers will follow the A90 to reach South Queensferry.
After visiting The Priory Church of St Mary of Mt Carmel you will cross over the River Forth.
Once over the Forth, drivers should take the A823, following the signs for Dunfermline. You can turn in to Pitreavie Business Park in order to see St Margaret’s Stone (see below).
Cyclists will follow NCN1 (from The Royal Mile, go down The Mound, cross over Princes st and turn left on to George st). Once across Cramond Brig, the route through the Dalmeny estate is more pleasant and only 1.5 miles longer.
After visiting The Priory Church of St Mary of Mt Carmel in South Queensferry, you will cross over the River Forth. There is a separate cycle and pedestrian lane.
Follow the NCN1 until, 3/4 mile after crossing over the M9 motorway, turn left on to Carnegie Avenue. Cross Queensferry road at the roundabout with care. You will now see St Margaret’s Stone. She rested here on her way from St Margaret’s Hope to Malcolm Canmore’s tower on her arrival in Scotland in 1069.
Continue Northwards, passing Grange Drive on your right. Keep to the left until into McClelland Crescent. (Cycling on the short link between Grange Drive and Keir Hardie Terrace is not permitted). Again, keep to the left until, immediately after crossing the railway, turn right into Grange rd/Elgin st.
Walkers who are not following the whole of Cameron Black’s route may like to select parts of it in this section. Of particular note are the stretches along the Water of Leith (if you add to this the stretch from Stockbridge to Dean Village you will pass St Bernard’s well also) and along the shore through the Dalmeny estate, passing The Eagle Rock.
Once arrived in Dunfermline, by whatever method and route, take time to walk in the town, around the grounds of the abbey and Pittencrieff Park, to St Margaret’s cave and St Margaret’s Roman Catholic Memorial church to where a relic of the saint was returned in 1998, 900 years after her death.
By Public Transport
There are rail stations at Edinburgh (Waverley & Haymarket), Dalmeny (for South Queensferry), North Queensferry, Inverkeithing, Rosyth (close to St Margaret’s stone), and Dunfermline. The route is also well served by buses.
To check times go to Traveline Scotland and click on Plan your Journey on left side of page.
The River Forth is profoundly connected with Margaret’s story. Here she arrived on the north shore as a storm tossed refugee. Later she founded the Queen’s Ferry to give pilgrims safe passage to the shrine of St Andrew, whom she especially honoured as one of the first disciples. At South Queensferry the Priory Church of St Mary of Mount Carmel marks the pilgrim hostel above the original landing stage. Nowadays boats leave from the pier at the other end of the village, from where you can sail to Inchcolm Island and Abbey (see Dunfermline to Dysart below ). You can cross the river by road or rail to North Queensferry and then on to Dunfermline.
In Margaret’s time Dunfermline was the capital of Scotland and her first home here. Amongst the atmospheric riches are the remains of the palace, the inspirational Benedictine Abbey founded by Margaret, and the enlarged Abbey Church where Robert the Bruce is buried. Amidst this large scale splendour you can still find, accessed from the town centre car park, St Margaret’s Cave where the saintly Queen sought solitude and contemplation amidst the duties of Court life and her own efforts on behalf of the poor, the hungry, orphans and prisoners of war. Margaret was buried at Dunfermline Abbey alongside her husband Malcolm, but when a new shrine was built after her official canonisation, the coffin could not be shifted until Malcolm’s was also moved. The town of Dunfermline has many fine churches in addition to the Abbey and an excellent heritage centre at Abbot’s House.
From Dunfermline you can travel to St Andrews inland or by the coast. We shall describe both routes though you may choose to use both going in different directions.