Just as Spring seemed to have arrived a low pressure squatted over the country unleashing high winds and low temps. While certain smartie-pants say stuff like there's no such thing as bad weather, you just have to have the right clothes for it etc. most of the folk out on the WHW doing a recce of the Fling would probably disagree. Nick's excellent report and grim photos couldn't disguise the hardships or pretend it was all as delightful as it would have been in sunshine and flip flops. And photos of the the other 30 drowned rats braving the elements out there spoke of enduring rather than embracing.
Fortunately I didn't have anything big planned for the weekend and seeing the bad weather approaching opted for a big run Friday and nothing much over the weekend. Just a couple of recovery outings, the first one on Saturday with Mike. His son Archie was going to a party at Foxlake so Mike planned to fill those 2 hrs with 9 or 10 miles of trails around the tri-trails of Hedderwick and Belhaven Bay. I was pleased to get a lift there as it is some of the best running in East Lothian.
I also had a slight agenda: regular readers will know I have been looking for a point across the Tyne so that I can take a more direct route from the above photos to Baldred's Cradle just the other side of the estuary. It would be less than a mile. Currently following the JMW along to the A198 and running up that across the big stone bridge then taking a right along the terminally boring Limetree Walk takes about 2.5 miles and travels along far too much tarmac.
The pink dots follow a proposed short cut across the estuary but rely on the old bridge over the river. I was discussing this bridge with Toby on Friday and he painted a pretty poor picture of an old bridge that is locked and has deterrents - spikes on top - to discourage the likes of me. I think Ben K once looked into this as well and came to a similar conclusion. I haven't checked it out because it is quite a hike to get to that spot. I was reluctant to spoil Mike's run by taking him to this point so I put it off till later but instead wanted (being low tide) to check out the other possible route North which would be a wade across the estuary if there was any point shallow enough. Also I had never run on the pointy bit of peninsula on the south side of the estuary mouth and thought that was worth a look.
But then the spoilsports at terns-R-us put this fence line to stop us having a closer look at the depth of the estuary. Had they not been patrolling in their little sand buggy we might have crossed this line. I mean we weren't going egg collecting. I think the terns should man up and just accept there will be an occasional human sharing the planet with them. And most humans these days are sofa surfing not checking out the depth of water at the estuary crossing. Foiled again. Watch this space I will be back. By the way plan B (wading) involved a drysack I was carrying in my bumbag into which I planned to put everything below the plimsoll line while immersed. Mike looked less than keen about this.
Then the sun came out and it was pretty nice for a moment or 2. There was also a strong wind giving everything below the knees a sand blasting.
Presume this is a non-native species making a prison break from East Links family park, past which we were running.
Big thanks to Mike for driving us there and back and buying me a hot chocolate afterwards - he knows how to show a man a good time!
Next up, usual Sunday "recovery" run (and swim?) at Gullane but wait, what's this? Yak H has lost her sense of adventure and refuses to get out the car. After a whole winter of cold water she has had enough and won't play anymore. So why did we drive to Gullane? Knowing there is no point trying to resort to logic or common sense, carrot or stick, verbal or emotional blackmail, I let Mary sulk in her "emotional, spiritual, physical and moral breakdown" and go for a run on my own. Since we are here anyway and THAT IS WHAT WE DO.
After a bit of a run through the woods at the far end I struggled back along the beach into the wind. Then it darkened and started raining and I thought maybe Mary (listening to classic fm and watching the weather from the warm car interior) had the right idea. Talking of classic fm, this is mainly Mary's choice of music, and although I approve of a certain amount of their output I do think it is Radio 3 lite (at best) and a large scoop of their airtime is hugely dumbed down, and stuff builders might whistle. On the way to Gullane we listened to Maria's theme from West Side Story (Maria, I just did a fart called diarrhoea) which is NOT classical music. And neither is the soundtrack to Pirates of the Caribbean.
The wind was now whipping the rain and sand horizontally into my face. The only good thing was the strength of the wind meant that everything would blow over in 10 minutes and the sun would come out again, which it did. So it turned out to be a good option to postone the mass-submergathon. The westies had bailed out with injuries/illness and the locals were losing enthusiasm at the sight of low temps, cold stormy water and strong winds. Having said that it was (between squally showers) very dynamic to be out in, and I spent as long as possible standing about taking photos after running to the other end of the beach. But not a great day for a mass swimathon. Although the water was too choppy for proper swimming it wasn't (due to offshore wind) big enough surf to be exciting. The kite surfers were enjoying the strong wind but after less than 40 minutes out and about I was happy to forgo the swim part and head to Tesco (classic fm playing in the background) for the weekly shop. Still it could have been worse - struggling along the WHW with Nick and the dead goats.