When we visited Cramond for the third time it was later in the day than our previous two visits. The light was different, darker and duskier and the wind was up. When we arrived the ice cream van was closed. A bell from one of the boats was clanging and there were a group of swans sleeping in the estuary. The start of the walkway felt different in the early evening and even the sand looked different, darker and blacker with weed as though disturbed by a storm.
As we walked through the dense green undergrowth I noticed that the ferns are fully unfurled since last time, their green fronds taller than I am, grazing the skyline and obscuring the sea. We tried to find the glade we visited last time; we can’t find it. We stood in the spot we both thought it had been and looked at each other. We retraced our steps seeking signs that branches have been cut. Some leaves look scorched from the hot weather but there is no evidence that a tree has been pruned or cut back. We expected the shoreline to change from visit to visit with the twice daily tides, but the deep green heart of the island is shapeshifting too.
Once we passed the highest point of the island we were plunged back into deep green foliage. We reachd the glade we had been looking for in the lower part of the island. It is cool and the dappled sun light through the leaves pattern the path. This spot is full of the sounds of bees and birds and insects. Tim and I realise we don’t know this place as well as we thought we did.
We go to leave Cramond island about 7pm when Tim decides to record more sounds at the shoreline. The sky darkens as we begin to cross the walkway and the rain begins to fall. As we hurry back to the mainland we pass people on their way to the island, some of them are dressed up and one girl is wearing high heels but clutching a pair of Doc Martin boots. The last safe crossing is 20:25 – we wonder what is happening on the island tonight and how bad the weather is going to get. On the drive back to Glasgow the rain is torrential and I think of the people on the island crossing the causeway in the lashing rain. The RNLI is frequently called out to rescue stranded tourists who misjudge the tide times on Cramond.