Could this futuristic option help reopen a key lane on Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh?

The steep path – known as the Radical Road, skirting Salisbury Crags – was closed in 2018 for safety reasons after 50 tonnes of rock fell from the cliffs onto the path.

BBC Scotland has now cited a study revealing the footbridge as an option, as well as reopening the route at users’ own risk; install avalanche-type shelters such as those at Lochcarron or mesh shelters; or close it permanently.

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Ramblers Scotland and Edinburgh’s heritage watchdog, the Cockburn Association, have reportedly said they want it to reopen, echoing previous calls to do so.

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The forgotten history of Edinburgh’s Radical Road

Historic Environment Scotland (HES) manages the site, and an internal report on its risk management cites the Skywalk at Jasper National Park in the Canadian Rockies as an example that could be emulated.

The radical route is considered historically significant and is where pioneer geology James Hutton examined exposed horizontal bands of dolerite rock. At an exhibit, now known as Hutton’s section, he was able to better understand the relationship between different layers of rock, using the example to support his theory that igneous rocks are formed from magma .

The road received its name in the aftermath of the Radical War of 1820, when unemployed weavers in the west of Scotland protesting what they felt were unfair conditions paved the track around Salisbury Crags in a plan suggested by author Sir Walter Scott.

Edinburgh may soon have something similar to this Skywalk in Canada.

Ramblers Scotland manager Brendan Paddy reportedly said ‘a lot more detail’ was needed about the actual risk to walkers using the path, and he said people are generally left to make their own decision about the associated dangers to outdoor activities, “as these are generally far outweighed by the benefits”.


He added: “While we recognize that HES has a duty of care to people on the road, we are concerned that it appears to treat Salisbury Crags – a natural geological feature – as if it were a building. crumbling history.”

Other suggestions to help reopen the road include avalanche-style shelters or covering the rock face with wire mesh. Photo: Greg Macvean Photography.

James Garry, the Cockburn Association’s deputy director, called the aerial walkway project ‘over-inappropriate and inappropriate intervention’, adding: ‘Other more sustainable and sensitive options may be possible. “Hearing from managers of similar venues around the world who have managed to solve the same kind of problems. HES needs to up its game to deliver what Scotland’s capital deserves.”

An HES spokeswoman was quoted as saying the rockfall hazard could “cause death or serious injury” on part of the Radical Road.

“We continue to consult with external specialists and partners on the most appropriate option to best address this situation,” she added. “This includes a number of options, including closing the path permanently to the general public and assessing the feasibility of response methods.

“We will undertake further technical assessments before making a decision. However, a final decision has not yet been made.”

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