Monday, 16 July 2018

NB circuit on bikes

We can just about get the bikes in the back of the Berlingo without too much hassle. Seats folded down, no rack required. And sometimes it's better to start cycling somewhere pleasant (like North Berwick) than on those too-well-travelled exit roads of auld reekie. So we drove East and set off from N Berwick on another perfect day of Summer. I had been meaning to go to Cove and maybe have a swim in the sea there, but somewhere along the way this trip morphed into the NB circuit. 

I was trying to think ahead to the un-cycle-able parts of the route, but felt it was mostly do-able apart from Tyninghame beach.

first stop the toilets - didn't there used to be a mural over there?

gaelic signage?

MH on the JMW

damselflies next to Balgone curling ponds

painted lady

There was a wee bit of tricky ground after the turn off at stink farm and I could sense Mary wasn't convinced of my route choice, but by the time we had gone through Newbyth Wood and across the road into Binning Woods she had cheered up a bit.

speckled wood

Binning Woods

The rhododendron flowers were fading and it struck me I had missed the amazing spectacle of the Red Admirals (and speckled woods) congregating here around flowering time, which I caught last year. (Blog HERE) Dozens flying about in an avenue (above photo) between the trees. There were a few still about but not in large numbers.

From there we emerged near the Harvest Moon cabins and cycled down towards the beach taking the trail that runs parallel to the beach but on the other side of the dunes. About halfway along we got off the bikes and climbed up the dunes to enjoy the views from the Bass Rock at one end to nearly Dunbar at the other. 

female common blue

the concrete road laid by Tam of Tam bides here fame

When running this circuit these last 5 miles are tough. You have passed the best scenery and there is just the slog on the roads back into NB. On the bikes it is considerably easier though I seem to have a memory of complaints about hills and lethargy and the warmth of the day. At the top of the hill before Tantallon we went straight on rather than down and round as there is less traffic on those roads. At NB we went into Tescos and struggled to choose between so man ydelicious cold drinks and foods to eat. We were about to have a picnic directly outside but I insisted we return to the car as there were no benches and my legs don't fold in such a way as to allow for sitting on grass. All that fresh air does give you a right appetite though! Lovely day out in a great part of the world.

gannet central

 18.5 miles

Friday, 13 July 2018

last of the DGFs

Friday 6th July and the great Scottish Summer continues. Can't remember why Mary had the day off but we drove down to Gullane for the usual Saturday route, and what with all the sunshine, it was just brilliant. First stop was to jetwash the Berlingo ahead of it's MOT on Monday. The excellent news was it got through with a minimum of cash, possibly less than either of the previous 2 years, so we can now uncross our fingers and breath a sigh of relief.

The Open was just about to kick off. I will see as much of that as I did of the world cup football. Which could be rounded down to none. I suppose it (the Open) brings money into the local community and no doubt is good for the economy but when I see rows of white BMW courtesy cars lined up I can't help but feel the place is likely to be invaded by a bunch of badly dressed tossers from a different planet with values so different from mine there is just no common ground. Still at least England got flushed down the WC before the media coverage became (more!) intolerable. I don't hate the team or manager, just the constant and banal media hype, which if they had won, would be unimaginable. Bullet dodged! It does seem to be a very lucky summer.

Small Tortoiseshell freshly out the box. 

What do you mean they don't come in boxes? Next you'll be saying they aren't made from tortoises? Then there are my newest pair of Speedgoat 2s. I apologise for the colour which I will be hurrying to dip in mud. The website turned down the colour making them look black and turquoise, check this out here. I don't blame them! However this is my 4th pair of speedgoat2s and they are are a great shoe (despite the colour!). Ideal for the Scurry to the Sea next weekend. Grippy but cushioned.


It has been a superb Summer for the wildlife. I have seen numerous new species and many more of the usual suspects than in the last few years. It's as if they knew. I suspect it is more just them taking advantage of ideal conditions. I am trying to do the same. I was very pleased to see many more Dark green fritillaries than normal and suspected this might be the last weekend. They were beginning to look a little tired round the edges and less brightly coloured. On the upside a big happy welcome to the Small Skipper! A relative newcomer to this part of the world these are so much cuter than their relatives the Large Skipper even though they are nearly identical. I was totally uplifted to see loads of them on the fairly anonymous ground immediately over the bridge to enchantment. They were all over the flowers, nectaring, and buzzing about each other looking to hook up. And not particularly skittish or frightened of the camera. I had forgotten just how delightful these dainty little creatures are. 

Lots over by butterfly corner, along with blues and DGFs. Which is quickly recovering from the ranger and his pals sawing down and burning the Sea Buckthorn there at the end of last season. I feared they had destroyed a special corner where the butterflies gathered, however the nettles and thistles that attract the butterflies are bouncing back fine. I doubt the wisdom of cutting back the Buckthorn and I hope it didn't damage the butterfly eggs and larvae there too much, but hopefully in the next month or 2 we will see a return to something like last year's community of RAs, Peacocks, Commas and Small Torts.

Small Skipper

typical wing formation

This dgf was unmoved by my presence and continued to gather nectar in the late afternoon sun while I took a load of photos. I was very pleased although this was offset by Mary having left a while back and that I should probably not keep her waiting toooooo long. Oh alright just another photo...


Small Skipper again, doing the same

I actually saw a small skipper chasing a fritillary which had had the cheek to fly over the skipper's airspace. Go yourself little guy! Aren't they cute?!

hay fever anyone?

time to fly

6 spot burnet moth


cinnabar caterpillars

2 six spots and a cantharid beetle

a ghostly Painted Lady half transparent after a long journey?

hands up if you're having fun!