Monday, 14 April 2014

topping up my pay-as-you-go soul

Saturday the glorious 12th
I'd had a long week working and was feeling tired and jaded. Mary was working all weekend. I had been skipping running duties and felt a long one was on the cards - the sun was to shine, particularly in the late afternoon. So running shoes on and heading East Lothian way to run trails and take photos in the sunshine. There is little better and none of it in London.

Had to dash to catch the 11.12am to Longniddry.

AGF nee H was stuck behind the peloton.

We drove to Gullane then ran the usual route through the golf course to Aberlady then over the bridge.

This was the first time I had seen Amanda since she eloped with Scott (congrats to both). They gave their families about 48 hrs warning during a family holiday, thus cleverly avoiding that 2 year crawl up the aisle involving matching invites, underwear and bridesmaids that some people absentmindedly do.

This wee bastard went yap yap yap.

The first 7 miles flew in. Amanda (in new Hokas) has injury aches and pains and was limited to about an hour. She turned back to Gullane at the edge of the woods and I went on to North Berwick.

You can see the wires in my robocop knee.
I was carrying the proper camera on tripod and took a few remote selfies to pass the time and populate the landscapes. 

Approaching high tide (which was around 2pm)

Miss of the day: watching my feet over the rocks this squadron of eider ducks flew past before I got the camera on.

Heading towards NB and the wind had blown the sand away from around the small stones leaving them beached on sandy plinths.

There was a strong wind blowing west to east. Although the sea was fairly unruffled. Most of the early miles it was behind me and I was vaguely planning to head inland from NB on to the John Muir Way. 

I bought a meal deal in the NB co-op - after the kind assistant drew my attention to the fact that if I took a flapjack bar as well, my total spend would go down?!? I ate my sandwich beside the aviary trying to understand (similarly) how the mesh cage disappears if you zoom further in. 

Next to the birds were some great rockery plants incl these fritillary which I've always been intrigued by: thinking CRM was taking liberties with the rectangular patterning until I saw them in life.

I took 501 photos, most of them daffodils in sunshine. I have tried to be strong about editing them.

Ideal day for a hike up the Law.

The wind was turning the spring crops into a stormy sea making this scarecrow dance the hokey-cokey like a thing possessed .

The JM Way cuts in from 3/4s top right across past halfway then up to top left.

Climbers at the quarry.
I have slowly thrutched through the gorse in the top corner on sloping dusty ground, threatened with a long drop and pendulum, while Mary, belaying, bored, shouted, "tell me what you see Clarice."

Up until this point I had thought I would run to Dunbar. However with the sun coming out and the wind perhaps dropping I felt the urge to return to the coast and the beach at Tyninghame.

As I ran towards East Linton I saw a familiar face - Jason had been out riding with the Fat Bike posse and was on his way back, trying to find the most sheltered route home.

Checking the time between these 2 photos - 3.57~4.18 shows how long we chewed the fat.
Jason said the stink at stink farm was HIGH. This encouraged me to head left just before and take the trails to Binning Woods and through to the coast and back to NB rather than the JMW to Sunny Dunny.

The upside was a trip to visit my dad who was laid to rest around here, the downside was I only had a small bottle of water and now wouldn't be able to buy the refill at East Linton.

Here's a good game: put the camera (on tripod) on self timer. You have 10 secs to cross the path (10yards) and scale the ladder to the top platform (no hand holds) and remember to smile! This was the third attempt.

Instead of the usual photo of Gormenghast (Tyninghame House) here is one of a pheasant that made me laugh. As I was running along that endless road, I saw it duck down and lie flat between rows of crops. I got the camera ready and crept into the field, until the point at which it admitted the game was up and exploded into the air.

I think this is next to the Secret Trail.

St. Baldred's Cradle

freakishly long arm

Was it windy?
Hell yes, and into my teeth. I took some video of the sand whipping off the dunes and along the beach, all the while wondering about how much was gritting up my camera.

(Effing) Peffer Burn was looking crossable downstream. I considered the half mile jog upstream to the bridge, but went for the beach crossing as the tide was well out and it can sometimes be just a trickle. It wasn't and I cursed as I ran through soaking my shoes. It seems to be different every time I am there.

Seacliff Skull

I came off the beach at Seacliff although got lured back into the fields somehow and crossed through Tantallon Castle grounds, exiting over a wall and trying to look casual as the neighbours said hello.

I could have dropped down to the beach and along the golf course but my mind was listing the gallons of juice I would buy at Tescos which is on the approach road into N Berwick. I had been out for around 7hrs and drunk about a litre.

When I got to Tescos I reminded myself I still had a mile plus to the station and not to buy all the fluids (from water to wine) that I fancied. I made do with a litre of Tescos fizzy water (peach and apricot flavour) which I drank in 2 scoofs, only stopping to shake the fizz out the second half. I then jogged along the road percolating peach and apricot gas, for once not racing with just minutes to go, but in plenty of time to catch the 7.20.

The sun sets on a perfect day.

I realised later that at some point during the day I had got my groove back; the blues had lifted and I was feeling full of the joys. I have a hard time understanding why folk travel 400miles to a dirty, noisy, smog filled city to run in a dense crowd of people to a mix of chas'n'dave and steel bands, with all this on our doorstep.
Each to their own.

30 of the finest miles anywhere (with another couple up and down to the station.)


  1. Great post!, like the Seacliff skull!!!

    Water points local are Stonelaws farm tap beside JMW, Tyninghame Cafe, if shut then tap at Tyninghame beside the garages on the roadside hill, a cheeky one at Tyninghame House!, Knowes farm shop, stables beside East Fortune race circuit, and Coastkid HQ!

  2. I am off tomorrow (Friday) and thinking (since the weather is forecast for FAB) I might just do the exact same route again as I can't think of anything better. Thanks for the water tips v handy. As the weather gets warmer it becomes more of an issue. I will try and find a couple of them tomorrow. Very glad of a day off; far too much work and as a result no running till tonight (thurs). I will prob catch a mid-morning train to Longniddry.