Worth the hike: The Bridge Inn, Ratho
Fancy escaping the city for a few hours? Carrie Mitchell did and found found the perfect country pub with a nearby walking route - so you needn't feel guilty about that extra side of fries
Overlooking the Union Canal in pretty Ratho, The Bridge Inn is a cute community pub with an appeal stretching far beyond the village. When we arrive on a sunny spring Saturday, the cosy bar is packed with locals watching the rugby and the dining room is bustling with only a couple of tables to spare. It’s too chilly to brave the balcony looking onto the canal so we take a pew by the window instead and set about the serious business of choosing lunch.
While the usual pub favourites - fish and chips, pie of the day or a burger - are all tempting, we opt for some of the more sophisticated options instead. Starters of salt baked beetroot with beetroot carpaccio, pear, goats cheese, and ginger sponge, £6.85, and seared scallop, with charred spring onion, leek puree, onion broth, £9.50, both look and taste like something you’d get in a Michelin star restaurant not a village pub. And the mains stack up well too. The braised short ribs with bovril roast carrot, charred and caramelised onions, confit turnip, creamy mash and jus, £19.95 is hearty and warming while the Fishcakes with light ‘hollannaise’ and spinach, £8 or £15 depending on your appetite, are a simple classic choice perfectly paired with the saltiest, crispiest chips around.
And if you’re thinking about skipping dessert, don’t – the chocolate brownie, £7.50, might sound like a standard pudding but with a sprinkle of toffee popcorn, a sticky pool of ganâche and smooth spoonful of vanilla ice-cream, it’s just about the most decadent mouthful you’re likely to experience. You’ll definitely want to walk home after wolfing down that little lot. But if straying far sounds too much like hard work, simply join the throng in the bar, grab a table on the balcony or push the boat out and book a room – with four individually designed bedrooms upstairs, you don’t have to go anywhere until tomorrow.
27 Baird Rd, Ratho, EH28 8RA, 0131 333 1320, bridgeinn.com
Start: Union Canal, Fountainbridge
End: The Bridge Inn, Ratho
Length: 9 miles
Time: 2.5 – 3 hours
￼The canal towpath runs all the way from the bustling city centre, through the outskirts of Edinburgh, over the Scott Russell viaduct, and into the picturesque village of Ratho. The traffic-free route takes in eight miles of tree-lined towpath, where you can soak up the tranquillity, aside from the fleeting company of joggers, cyclists and the odd passing boat.