Mary is not keen on the photos of her wearing goggles. I quite like the wonky look (exaggerated by the aquapac and... er photoshop) but this may be the last time such photos appear here. She drove us to Gullane and I kind of bullied her along to this bay. When we used to go bike touring she would stop and set the stove up for a cup of tea at the roadside (a pavement picnic) when she felt like a cup of tea. No matter the surroundings. I would (given the option) cycle for up to 10 miles looking for a suitable spot - usually a combination of somewhere decent to sit and a pleasant aspect. It is in my nature to be particular and I regard this mostly as a blessing not a curse although sometimes it is a thin line between the two.
Same with going to the beach. I'd rather not struggle into and out of a wet suit between Mr.&Mrs. Smith and the twins and the snogging couple to the right, while jasper the jack russell runs off with my swim cap. The main drag at Gullane on a Saturday features this, times ten, because these people sit on the first patch of sand large enough to spread their towel on, and most don't get beyond an area you could wet with an ice bucket challenge. If, however, you walk less than a mile west you are rewarded with an idyllic bay complete with raised stone changing area where the incoming tide won't soak your clothes and you can change without taking 4lbs of sand home in your undies, while waggling your goggles in the air till they're dry.
bare feet not recommended
Mary was in a pretty good mood and put up with this (reluctantly) although also careful not to admit it was a top spot. Which it was. However she was barefoot and mentioned the shale / shell beach was coarser than the sand on the main beach. I always wear sand shoes when swimming outdoors as you never know what lurks under the water (sharp rocks / weaver fish / jelly fish etc). I have Lidl specials that cost £7, but am considering Vivobarefoot aqua shoes for about £30. Or maybe small flippers. Anything that inspires confidence is a bonus. Again the protecting rocky arms of the bay make this spot ideal and you could swim back and forth all day slowly venturing out into deeper waters, gaining confidence. The barriers - going "out there" - are all mental rather than physical.
Mary in the changing area.
On the way back, enjoying the super-fresh feeling you always get after a bit of a swim, we met fat-biker Alan Young out on his On One. He was laid out for a bivy between our bay and main beach pretty much at Gullane Point enjoying the susurration of the waves on the shingle and the surrounding lovliness. We stopped for just long enough to acknowledge mutual friends (Scott Balfour / Coastkid etc.) although we got the feeling he was keen to blether for MUCH longer! then scampered off to drive home via Tesco's because there's nothing like a swim to engage your hunger.
We hope to continue swimming outdoors for a while yet this year. It's very invigorating.