ONE of Edinburgh’s most popular scenic walks has reopened for the first time in more than two years after a landslide forced it to close.
The Water of Leith walkway has been shut off between Dean Village and Sunbury Place since 2012 with engineers removing several trees alongside work to shore up loose ground.
Thousands of walkers, cyclists and nature lovers had to find alternative routes after barriers were erected warning of danger amid an “unacceptably high risk” of a further landslip.
Tourists seeking nearby attractions including the National Gallery of Modern Art and Dean Gallery were often left confused and lost.
The pathway finally reopened on Friday after work was carried out to re-stabilise the steep embankment above the path, erect retaining walls, remove trees and restore the walkway.
A spokeswoman for The Water of Leith Conservation Trust, said: “It’s fantastic news.
“This part of the walkway is a real hotspot.” The Water of Leith is the main river flowing through Edinburgh to the port of Leith where it joins the sea at the Firth of Forth.
Hundreds of people stroll along the waterside walkway every day en route to work, walking dogs or spotting wildlife such as herons and kingfishers.
The path is also popular with tourists, joggers and cyclists.Edinburgh City Council said the pathway was now “open to the public”, although a final section of handrail is still to be put in place.
Kirsten Stirling, 41, from Murrayfield, was one of the first to walk along the reopened path, with her one-year-old son Max.
She said: “When the path closed it was such a loss to the city.
“It makes a huge difference to be able to walk this way again after such a long time.
“This is the first time I’ve been able to push the pram along the waterside since Max was born. It’s been a long detour on the roads.
“The path is safer and much nicer too.”
A spokesman for Crummock (Scotland) Ltd, who carried out restoration work, said: “There are a lot of very happy people.
“The public has been desperate for this work to be done.”
Last week, the News told how flood barriers along sections of the Water of Leith would be scaled back and focused on areas of at-risk housing.