Piano man pitches up at Cramond beach

Ben  Treuhaft says he could be at Cramond beach for a 'nice long time' after pitching up there. Picture: Neil Hanna
Ben Treuhaft says he could be at Cramond beach for a 'nice long time' after pitching up there. Picture: Neil Hanna
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An eccentric musician who attracted controversy after pitching his tent and a piano on a city seafront has found a new home – on another beach.

Ben Treuhaft spent almost five months living on the sands of Portobello after splitting from his wife.

Last week, the 66-year-old and his instrument were evicted by city council chiefs for breaching rules which prohibit camping within a mile of a public road.

But now it has emerged Mr Treuhaft, a piano tuner, has found a new spot for his unconventional lifestyle – 
Cramond beach.

The father-of-two, who is the son of a Mitford sister who married a communist nephew of Winston Churchill, claimed today that the tent he has pitched at the popular tourist spot was “twice as big” as the one he used at Portobello.

And he has so far evaded council officials, who have visited the site several times only to find that the tent occupant is not there.

Local authority staff left a note beside the tent in an attempt to speak to him.

Mr Treuhaft said his piano, which is currently in storage, will be delivered to the beach by the end of the week, but he is already making himself comfortable in his new surroundings, with two fold-up chairs for furniture.

He said: “I chose Cramond because I asked about where would be a suitable place, and somebody suggested Silver Sands. But then my piano movers said, ‘don’t go to Silver Sands, it’s all rock there’, and the bit that’s sandy is prohibited for camping.

“I could be here a nice long time,” he added. “I’m looking for a flat in Edinburgh desperately, but in the meanwhile I’m staying in the tent because I have no other option. The tent is lovely to sleep in but it can’t last forever.”

Mr Treuhaft remains keen to find a spot where he can leave his piano for people to “enjoy” as a “public project”.

He added: “I’m sure there’s a way to get the council to license the tent and the piano so I can do this for a few years, because I would like to keep it there.

“I like to put public pianos in places because I have so many – I have seven or eight pianos – and people love to go play on a public piano.”

A council spokeswoman said that officers had been aware of the new visitor to Cramond since Monday.

She said: “The council is aware a tent has been pitched in the Cramond Causeway area. Our neighbourhood team has attempted to make contact with any occupiers, and have requested they get in touch.”

kaye.nicolson@edinburghnews.com