I was at a bit of a loose end on Saturday. The forecast was excellent but there were no pals to go for a run. Everyone off at the Devil's Burden. I realised I wanted to get out on the bike even though my running miles the last few weeks barely got into double figures. I also had to tinker with the bike a bit and it was 11am before I got my tool kit packed, sandwiches made and out the door. It was slow to get out of town but the fat tyres were pumped so hard the bike felt as fast as a road bike. Did the first 17miles under the hour and got into N Berwick (22miles) in seventy five minutes. (Although I put the Garmin off while taking photos at Musselburgh and at Longniddry for the kite surfers.) It didn't hurt the fact the wind was going in the same direction.
Don't think this NB Celtic Cross is a war memorial.
There were a lot of pelotons out, most coming towards me. I wondered if you have to have a drop handlebar bike to join in and also what sort of speed they were going along at. Also what sort of clothes they were wearing. I had a fleece jacket on as I planned to do E2NB fast then potter around some off road trails along to Dunbar. It was a cold day and as well as sandwiches I was carrying various gloves, hats and other clothing options in my pack. I rang Ben's bell in N Berwick just in case he was in (and wanted to give me a coffee,) but it really was too nice a day to expect that.
I was a bit damp from racing along to NB but began to dry out on the road past Tantallon before taking the turn off to Seacliff. Instead of turning down to the beach I carried straight on, which is the road I normally come up from Peffer Burn when running the trails up Ravensheugh/Tyninghame Beach. There are a couple of signs saying Private Road and No Access to Beach but I assumed they were for the tourists and not nice young men like I! Strangely I didn't think of myself as a tourist. Also I wasn't going to the beach.
This caravan looks like a vagrant in the street with his trousers hanging off.
The cold crisp air and bright skies made for good quality photos but I had to get the camera out a pocket every time I saw something interesting. When I run I normally have the camera in my hand and hardly stop at all. There are advantages and disadvantages to the bike.
I went up the dunes to see the beach but then back down to the trails on the other side rather than get sand in my gears.
Met a couple of very cute ponies...
...but this one's manners weren't exemplary
they looked as if they had just been shampooed
Up this attractive path to the log cabin which has one of the best views in the world. It is available for rent but just looked very cold. (Maybe one for the summer months.) Although the sun was out I had been going very slowly and scampering about checking out routes and taking photos, and got a bit chilled. I was also needing something to eat but by the time I had eaten half my sandwich and a sports bar or 2, had to jump on the bike and cycle off down the interesting looking trails through the woods to warm up. It was not weather for hanging around.
rickety cabin with bonfire
Came out of the woods and onto the secret trail (some technical singletrack which I found challenging with the larger 29" wheels, or my inadequacy,) near St Baldred's Cradle then followed the coast round towards the estuary. I tried to remember the trails I had been shown here by Bruce and after some sploshing about in the salt marshes came to the rise that gives excellent views of the estuary.
getting a bit speckled with mud (new fancy helmet.)
At this point the JMW on the other side of the estuary is where I want to be, but it takes a few miles of tarmac up Limetrees Walk and down over the last bridge before turning left onto the other shore trails on the Dunbar side of the Tyne.
Yes this looks attractive but it was the muddiest road of the day and although I tried to stay on the grassy centre track was cursing every time I dodged off into the mud. Subsequently bombing down the road to the bridge it was flying up off the wheels and hitting me in the face. Not fun. Must get mudguards.
Most of the puddles along the John Muir Way were frozen.
Looking back to where I'd just been.
If you shine a bright light in my left ear it comes out my right eye.
The sun was just going down when I got to this place, which seems to be marked Hedderwick Hill on a map I have, although there isn't that much sign of a hill. It used to be part of the Dunbar XC and is just amazingly picturesque. In fact I got so swept up in following the excellent sandy trails at speed along the coastline I forgot to visit the goats and then llamas you meet if you follow the fence.
I deliberately exposed this for the sky to cast the trees and shoreline in silhouette; it wasn't really this dark. (see below)
I coloured this red because it was a sickly greeny yellow.
Still not sure though.
As I was getting towards Belhaven Bay the sun was behind a bank of cloud and I thought this heron was going to be the last shot of the day, however a minute later I looked over my shoulder as the sun made a last effort to peep through.
I then bombed along the road to Dunbar Station not wanting to get there and find the train just pulling out (I hadn't checked the timetables before setting off.) Alas it was an hour till the next one (90mins between trains) and I swithered about cycling back to NB and their more regular service. (Gathering dark and fast roads didn't appeal.) I didn't have a padlock so couldn't risk sitting in a
pub cafe. I bought a train ticket and decided to kerbcrawl around Sunny Dunny to pass the hour. All the cafes seemed closed so I cycled round the cliff top walk (what could possibly go wrong?) and down and round the golf course, taking in this war memorial. (Tynecastle Bikey Bronze?) By the time I got back to the station the (lovely warm) train was sitting there. Cracking day out. And wow did that leftover sandwich taste good!
45 mins in the back green with a headtorch, a toothbrush and 2 buckets of water to remove the mud.