Fair-a-far weir (or Cramond Falls) is the first barrier to fish migration any sea trout or salmon will come come across when moving up the River Almond.
The City of Edinburgh Council and the River Forth Fisheries Trust are delivering £500,00 of improvements to the River Almond’s Fair-a-Far weir in Cramond. With funding from Scottish Government and Heritage Lottery Fund a new fish pass has been installed and the weir crest repaired.
Originally built in 1790 to provide a new water source for the iron works at Fair-a-Far mill, the 30m wide structure was nearly completely washed away in 1935 during unprecedented floods. Today, although now in a much-improved condition and despite the construction of a fish pass in 1970s, the weir continues to be a barrier to fish migration. The completed work will enable fish to successfully move upstream and downstream at the site and the weir will no longer serve as a barrier to fish migration. Ultimately, this will result in improvements to the wider biodiversity of the River Almond, bringing benefits for local residents and visitors to the area alike.
Migrating fish are unable to traverse the three-metre-high structure and the old fish pass was not fit for purpose, with fish finding the entrance difficult to find or make the large jump into the fish pass. A new two-flight fish pass with a resting pool has been constructed on the footprint of the old pass and will allow fish to ascend the weir more easily. This new structure will see an increase in fish passing this barrier and breeding further upstream in the gravel beds of the River Almond’s tributaries across West Lothian. An increase in fish in the river will bring the level of salmon and sea trout populations to a more sustainable level which will benefit many animals – such as otters, heron and kingfishers – improving the River Almond’s biodiversity.