Saturday, 19 January 2019

none of the birds but starlings

Supposed to be doing estimates this work week. Then I saw the forecast for Thursday and estimated it was time for an NB Circuit. A while since I had done the excellent 18miler. I was thinking if it all went too well I could extend it round to Longniddry and knock out a 30 miler. Old habits and that. However I set off on the comfortably relaxed 10.43 to North Berwick which was leaving it late for a longer run. And due to the large sun lamp in the sky I was stopping every 5 mins for a photo. Over 600 of them. And here are the top 60! What a day!

this out the train window - first stop Law top.

The sunshine brings out the tweeting birds. There was a goldfinch, a handful of bluetits, chaffinches, 3 buzzards and lots more that all eluded the camera in the first 3 miles and I got the feeling today was going to be none of the birds but starlings. Nice to see lots of finches etc, but, like those afflicted by strava, if I don't get a photo it didn't happen. And crows, hundreds of crows. 

Obligatory hike up the Law. What you don't see is the sharp wind that cuts through 3 layers and means no loitering. Took a few snaps then hurried down and onto the JMW along to Balgone ponds. I have been taking lots of pics of those curly blonde stick weeds that catch the sun against a blurred out background. They remind me of natural design lessons in first year art school when we would copy vegetables and flowers in pencil line and slowly you would recognise that all nature is beautiful lines, elegant curves and never a ugly corner or lumpy volume. Even scrappy weeds next to a pond. Lots of development and maintenance going on there (Balgone estate), which is good to see; new jetty replacing the old one which I ice-bucket-challenged off a couple of years back. And tree felling and path building. 

curly blonde stick weeds

new jetty

swan in a pan


starlings darlings

not sure about these (tree sparrows maybe) but there were loads

more backlit grasses and tiny fairies

Newbyth House

Binning Woods

I exited Binning Woods at the North East corner having just missed Bob M - (saw his back disappearing with 2 doggies and thought that might be Bob) and went along Gauger's Bush carrying straight on and through Brownrig Wood. It was all delightful including a pheasant(?) rearing enclosure where I disturbed a squirrel in a blue feeding bin that took off like a bat out of hell doing ground circles then up a tree in 3 nanosecs before I could raise the camera and stop laughing.

I know I know! the long awaited return of ICM (intentional camera movt.) Do the shake and snap and put the freshness ...bap. (Needs work.) Here's what it looks like sober...

The Laucht cabin where Richard Log was married.

best view in the world

had the whole place to myself

On the beach I had had the strangest sense there was something of an oniony flavour about the place. I was pretty sure it wasn't emanating from myself, but hey, the aging process can be a magical mystery tour with something of a contrary sense of humour. I wasn't sure whether it was just a waft of something stranded above the tide line or a phantosmia: an olfactory hallucination. "It can result from neurological conditions such as migranes, head injuries, strokes, Parkinson's, seizures or brain tumors. It can also be a symptom of mental disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder, intoxication or withdrawal from drugs and alcohol or psychotic disorders." That's 2 full drawers of bad news right there and I had my fingers metaphorically crossed for the next mile until I turned the corner and the mystery was resolved. The farmer in his green tractor was harvesting leeks. The place was almost overwhelmingly leeky, an invisible cloud of leek gas hung around the place like a ..ahem, gas leak.

eau de leek

I think this shed might have heating inside, perhaps a grain drying warehouse or the like, as the roof is always popular with the pigeons. Maybe it just faces the sun and warms up. I was checking back to the same run I did in Feb 2018 (blog here) and noticing how many of the same photos I have taken previously. Many nearly identical. Sad but true!

This for Jason.
(And if you squint your eyes the shadow looks like a winter beard.)

towards Trap Law

As I ran past Seacliff Stables and the very next house (the only one between the stables and the road down to the beach) this black lab came barreling out the open gateway barking like an attack dog. It was too fast to outrun so I turned and slowed, knowing if I kept running it would take a bite. I said in a very friendly tone "hiya, good dog" and placating words to that effect. Confused, it regrouped and stood, still barking like mad but wagging it's tail, not sure if I was friend or foe. I retreated cautiously but reckon I was that close to getting bitten. Next time I go past, I will be armed with a weapon to defend myself.

It was a toss up whether to go down the hill and along the coast or straight on past the pottery and then turn right. I really must hone this last few miles as it is a poor finish to a brilliant circuit unless the weather is nice and you drop down through the golf course along the shore. It was getting cold and I couldn't be bothered messing about on the coast so headed inland knowing there are sometimes funny goats/sheep that way. Not this time though: a chaffinch and a bluetit did their best to lure the camera out before flying off. 4 scarecrows weren't so flighty though and I enjoyed their parade. And another gang of starlings catching the last of the sun high on a wire, posed long enough for a pic.

No train to race for I took it easy over the last couple of miles realising I would be midway between trains and have to wait half an hour. Instead, to keep warm, I ran from the station to the far end of NB and the toilets opposite the chip shop where I ran my hands under the warm water and washed my face and felt the better for it. By the time I jogged back the train was on the platform and I had taken the 18 miles and change, up to 20. (Plus 2 station~home miles.) Superb day out, and great weather for photos, which really helps get a body through the Winter. 

20 + 2miles, well over 4hrs running