Sunday, 21 July 2013

Belhaven Best 20/07/13

In order to avoid the worst of the Open we did 2 things: didn't go running to the usual Gullane / Aberlady spots this weekend, and didn't put the telly on. Who needs poorly dressed, middle aged men wandering around pretending to be important?

Prestonkirk East Linton

We drove to East Linton, parking near the co-op. The plan was to follow the John Muir Way to Dunbar. After skirting a few fields the route gets better and better until Belhaven Bay where the estuary provides sandy vistas and pine trees. It was very Spanish or Italian in all this heat and made for a great run. I had been feeling more adventurous but Mary prefers just to go on a familiar route and get in the required miles without recourse to map and compass, or fording streams and climbing through hedges. I saved the adventure for Sunday and really enjoyed the JM Way which we hadn't been along for ages. The crops were high and there were loads of butterflies, birds and insects. Along the sides of the river Tyne the flowers and shrubbage were growing like wildfire. And because we know the way so well I could dawdle taking photos while Mary kept a fairly even pace. I could sprint to catch up if I felt I needed the work out.

The best part of the route is just at the bay at a bridge that has been involved with various Dunbar races and cross country events. Swallows were swarming and possibly digging nest sites in the sand bank there and Mary kindly agreed to let me hover and take photos. The swallows were not so keen and backed off while I stood above the bank failing to get much in the way of decent shots. This then encouraged us to take the coastal paths rather than follow the boundary of East Links Farm where the lamas and deer live.

Despite the internet saying these Burnet Moths are common I have only spotted them a couple of times and only at this time of the year. They are either a 5 Spot Burnet, or a 6 Spot Burnet but you also get a Scotch Burnet (no, really) and various others most of which seem to look identical. 

The salt marshes were reminiscent of a Spanish climbing holiday many years ago when Mary and I stood beneath a blisteringly white cliff that our pal Jim was slowly edging his way up. There was a scabby beach nearby, the sun was blasting off the white cliff and the temperature was nearly unbearable. We had forgotten sunglasses and were wearing tinted swim goggles to cope with the glare while belaying. Our shoulders burnt to a crisp while Jim talked himself into the necessary moves to get over the overhang. The salt marshes of Belhaven Bay now had a similar atmosphere although not quite as warm as the tropical heatwave we enjoyed in Spain. We chatted about this as we headed to the “bridge to nowhere.” The tide was just sufficiently out to let us cross it (taking off socks and shoes.) An hour later (on the return) and it was a waist deep wade (which we didn't opt for) on the West side. Putting my socks and shoes back on, my feet felt delightful – not sure if it was the cold rinse or the massage from the unpleasant metal grid across the bridge.

Next is Dunbar Golf Course and being lovely weather there were a number of poorly dressed men whacking their balls right next to where we were running. I went down to the beach to avoid being a target but the few golfers we nodded to, were nothing if not polite and very friendly and would wait till we passed rather than tee off into our faces. The concrete cliff top walk is always a bit disappointing after the joys of Belhaven Bay although the weather made it less so. We ran along to beyond the harbour where there was a fair day or something getting under way. After reaching the 8 mile point we retraced our steps and had a coffee on the run to stoke the return journey.

Harbour seal: one of our BIG 5 wildlife attractions.

It was equally delightful. Apart from a moment a couple of miles short of the end when I tightened my quick draw laces for the third time in as many minutes, to then notice that they had broken and were pulling through the eyelets. I hastily tied the loose ends and this got me back to the car. I was glad they hadn't done this in a race. Also I am developing holes where my smallest toes push on the upper fabric. Makes me think it's getting time for a new pair of Hokas.

Back at the car we bought co-op frozen fruit, onto which we poured yoghurt and honey, stirring it into a low fat ice-creamy health pudding. A perfect end to a great run.

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