East Linton 15miler Saturday 9th Feb.
Today's theme was signs. Plenty of them, along the riverside John Muir trails on which we jogged for 7.5 out and 7.5 back. Some good, some bad. We had planned on the Gullane 10, maybe 12 if it was panning out well, but the van decided we were going to East Linton. We were on the A1 chatting about this and that and drove right past the Haddington turn off. Next stop Dunbar. So after nipping back to East Linton, parked near the co-op and set off towards Sunny Dunny along the JM paths.
This is traditional Winter Fling training ground so possibly a sub-conscious effort on someone's behalf, though we were both surprised to find ourselves there. I didn't like to mention how hungry I was as the co-op was the only decent shop we would pass 15 miles later. (I once mistakenly tried to get something to eat in Dunbar – went into a garage shop and accidentally bought a Pepperami. Lordy, you wouldn't make that mistake twice.) I knew the pace would be “relaxed” because when Mary increased the speed over rough ground it felt like she was being stabbed in the pulled muscles in her ribs.
Sign of Spring
Sign of Farmer
I love this run as you come to the estuary. Up till then its on muddy trails skirting round fields and farmers tracks. Then all of a sudden the Tyne Sands open out and if the tide is out the place is hoaching with sea birds and there is a handsome long view to the pine woods and sea beyond. The tide was in – all the better that we were here, rather than Gullane.
The next part, on twisty single track and undulating paths round gorse bushes and WWII concrete cubes is testing and I hung back taking photos and messing around, sensing the gathering storm of Mary. I would have been tempted to stick with the coast, crossing the bridge and going left on the sandy trails between the sea and trees. Mary took the straightest line which follows the fenced edge of the Kids' Farm place. Difficult to find info on this I presume it to be EastLinks Farm though I have never approached it from the front. Only ever coming from this angle and the delightful surprise of the perimeter fence of the llamas, goats and donkeys. The llamas are indifferent to runners but I once saw one go bat-shit (technical term) when an inquisitive large dog went close by, presumably triggering the wolf-alarm response. 4 goats were far more interactive and only needed the bribe of a handful of grass to come galloping over for a chat.
Belhaven Bay marks the end of the nice stuff in this direction for a while. I have run here lots, last time with Willie J and Richard D as the warm down after the Multi-Terrain 10 miler, and often I feel spirits fall going round the golf course perimeter and subsequent cliff top run. I suppose the threat of being winged by a golf ball isn't terribly relaxing, but also the view changes from pretty, sandy bays to jaggy red rock and stony beaches that even when the sun is out you'd be hard pushed to call scenic. We had a mile of this which took us most of the way to the Swimming Pool before turning around at 7.5 miles and retracing our route. I was wondering if I was being a bit harsh about Dunbar but as soon as we got back to the bridge to nowhere and the JM Trail I felt the gloom lift and enjoyed the sandy paths back through the woods. I stopped and coaxed the goats from the other end of the field. They came running with an evident enthusiasm and we had quite a chat and photo session before I felt I should press on and catch up with Mary.
Bridge to Nowhere
If I had endless time I'd change the message to Dangerous Breakdancing
but I don't so you'll have to imagine it.
My Garmin said 7.5 here so I waited till Mary's said 7.5 about 50 yards later then turned around.
I spent the remainder of the run trying not to wish it was over and that I was buying armfuls of produce in the co-op. I had forgotten to make a note of the closing times and was concerned it might be shut. I also spent some time trying to work out the difference or indeed the similarity between East Linton and West Linton. I found it hard to keep both in my head at the same time. No doubt because West Linton (originally Lyntoun Roderyck) (Llyn being a lake or pool) is in the Tweeddale committee area (formerly Peebleshire) of the Scottish Borders and East Linton (from Linn a waterfall) is in East Lothian. Bet you wished you never asked.
The last bridge crossing before exiting the John Muir riverside path into East Linton has a couple of gravity utilising gates whereby a weight on a chain closes the gate behind you. It has a nicely balanced movement of good yet simple engineering and the feel it will last till gravity itself fails. I would have taken a photo except I was holding it open for she-who-must-be-obeyed.
It wasn't quite dark when we ran down the hill to the co-op. I had been thinking about rolls filled with Hoola Hoops for the last 4 miles and was delighted to buy four low-end cheese baps and scoff them almost without stopping for breath between handfuls of Hula Hoops. You do have to scrub your hands for 20 minutes in the shower afterwards to get the toxins and e numbers off but its worth it.
The van was fired up and pointed towards home but once more it chose a remarkably convoluted route to get there. Since we had nothing better to do than chat and listen to classic fm (till it became unbearable and I put on an mp3 player,) it all worked out pretty well.