Saturday, 17 August 2013

Happy Frida(y)s

Friday 16th Aug
I had a notion to do a long slow run today. Bad idea really as there's a race on Sunday I should be tapering for. However the sun was pasted all over the forecasts and it could be the last decent day of the season before Autumn sneaks its chilly fingers under the duvet.

Usually by the festival there is moisture in the air and the tourists get a good soaking. Which is as it should be. Today was supposed to be downpour-free so I didn't even throw a jacket in the back-pack. I had meant to set off early-ish but slept long after a week of tempo and race pace.

Tuesday was possibly as finely honed a Meadows interval session as I have ever run: 1,250s(?) at 4.17, 4.12, 4.09, 4.06 and implausibly a 4.04 (pb) to finish. Shery's mile reps on Wednesday: each one faster, (only three, I thought, but by the last one, felt 3 was plenty!) Then last night (Thursday) I ran a reluctant 4 miler, tempo rather than race pace but under 26 mins all the same. All this with half an eye on Sunday's10k.

So it would be foolish to go and run for half a day down the coast. I decided to focus on photos rather than mileage and see how it went. I got the train to Longniddry (sharing the journey to Musselburgh with Moray P which was well timed) which leapfrogged the first dull 10 miles out of Edinburgh. I was unsure how best to get to Aberlady from the station with the finest scenery, until I came across the “Palladian Gateway to the Estates of Wemyss by Robert Adam”. I just copied that wholesale from someone else's photo so it might be wiki-wrong. Now you are supposed to have a permit for running in the grounds of Gosford House and I used to have one (thanks to the Blakes) but I have not renewed it for a bit. That large imposing gateway is a double edged sword because when the bloke with a shotgun over his arm asks you if you are aware you are sweating on his land you can't really say I must have sneezed and missed the entrance.

This is only the side of the Gosford House but being in the sun was more handsome than the front.

I hadn't noticed the regretful lion before...

or the rampant swan.

Someone (sans firearms) seemed to be showing some folk the East aspect of the big house. I kind of chose the road along the West side, not that I was skulking around burglar-like. Well not until I got to the gate we entered around mile 17 of the Edinburgh Marathon in April. It was closed. It now occurs to me that I didn't actually try to open the central section, through which you would drive your Bentley - it looked like someone would push a button in the gatehouse and it would swing open electronically. I looked around either side and realised I was locked in. Feeling immediately claustrophobic I parked my camera on tripod at the side of the right hand arch and made like a burglar over the ten foot railing. 

climb: not recommended
Looking at this pic more closely I bet the white box on the left of the main gate opens it.

I do not recommend this as the top section is more than a leg length high and you have to support your weight on your arms while swinging your dangling legs over the upward spikes of the top rail. It's almost like it was designed to resist this sort of activity. I was much relieved nobody appeared while I was mid-straddle to ask what the f*** I thought I was doing. You also have to crouch slightly at the top to get under the stone work.

Any plans I had to introduce Emma and Ian (trail running pals over from the US in a week) to the delights of Gosford were quickly scrapped as I picked up my camera and legged it over the road to the path up through the magic forest and on to Aberlady.

Because it's more of a tradition and certainly not because I'm a porky pig, I stopped at the Aberlady grocer for a drink and snack. The small can of energy drink promised much and delivered little. However the Starbar, (nicely melting at body temperature,) was excellent. The lack of hit from the caffeine drink was an indication I should probably restrict my mileage. I had an idea about running to Dunbar and had checked the train times. Having set off later than intended it looked unlikely I would catch the 5.02 and might even miss the 5.43 forcing a wait till the 7.45. This wasn't the best option and would make a meeting in Morningside at 6pm, problematic.

This beautiful car was so highly polished the camera failed to focus on it properly

These red dragonflies were all over the path at Aberlady.

A beetle in the centre of a flower. (Much like life says Mary.)

For a change I had also checked the tide times. Low tide seemed to be around 4.30pm assuming we are in British Summer Time. This was confirmed at Aberlady looking at the sand uncovered by the receding briney. One of the submarines was fully out the water, the other would be shortly. However stretches of beach just round the corner from Gullane seemed to suggest nearly high tide and disappointingly the low sand bars before Fidra were covered. I don't pretend to understand. It appears the tide goes out at different rates.

Near Marine Villa is a spit of rock off the coast called Eyebroughy. I've only ever seen it written so don't know how it's said. But really hope it is pronounced Eyebrowy. As in the phrase Frida Kahlo is my favourite eyebrowy artist. 

When I was going past I heard a calling, halfway between a dog howling and a human. I think it may have been a seal singing. Not the most musical but quite endearing. Halfway down this page click on "singing seals" to hear something very similar. I took photos but no sign of the maestro.

I'm guessing this said Berwick Law until someone pointed out Berwick is not North Berwick
and then it was changed to "The" Law.

As I approached North Berwick I realised it would be 2.30+ and would involve unnecessary haste to get to Dunbar (via the coastal trails and clambers) by 5.02. I compromised by suggesting a jaunt up the Law as there would be plenty good photos at the top. Good idea I agreed, trying not to listen to the lazy devil on my shoulder suggesting Mrs. Kemp might be home and have the kettle on. I took a similar route to the Hill Race a week past Wednesday and have no idea how I got up in 13 minutes from the harbour on that occasion. I spent much longer than that just getting from the car park directly below, to the top. However I did stop to photograph 2 Kestrels that were floating on the updrafts. They were just yards away and I could see their orangey feathers as they pounced onto invisible mice in the long grass. The photos of them are universally crap, underlining the need for that expensive lens I am still waiting for Amazon to lower the price of.

The closest thing to a reasonable shot of the 2 kestrels
and quite a long way off wildlife photographer of the year.

crows doing a good job of re-enacting the battle of britain

On a positive note this lettering is a little better than just spray can vandalism. Someone has gone to the trouble of making and using a stencil. However it is a crass and misguided message, and dare I say it, typical of the yoof of today. If said vandal had been living a little less for the moment and taking a bit more care he/she might have properly justified the shallow caption.

The scenery was worth the climb. I kept an eye on the time knowing I had till 3.26 to get to the station. I nearly left it too long and was breathing heavily by the time I ran through the station car park. A good day out. Around 18 miles including the first and last mile from home to Waverley and back. Actually .3 of a mile short and do you think I was daft enough to run round the block to make it up to 18 on the Garmin? I also (after a quick lunch and shower) cycled through the centre of town playing Tourist Roulette and made it to the other side of Morningside not long after 6pm. Nothing if not keen!

out the train window

Waverley: haven't they made a good job of replacing the 34,000 sq m with strengthened glass?

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