Monday, 20 April 2015

happy trails

Saturday was the inaugural Porty Parkrun and the Hunter's Bog Trot. However the forecast was sunshine from mid-morning and I decided to put on the trail shoes and head down the coast. Too nice a day not to, and it turned out just fabulous. I took the "big" camera on the tripod and since I was running solo, took the time to set up some video run-past shots which I planned to make into a film later.

The route was pretty much going to be the same as last month's Tynecastle Bronze, getting off the train at Longniddry, running the beaches and trails to NB then doing the NB circuit down the John Muir Way, through Binning Woods then out at Tyninghame Beach and back to catch the train at North Berwick. Around 32 miles.

I was a bit casual about getting ready and nearly missed the 11.43 because I couldn't find my sunglasses. Ran round the house looking everywhere but had to leave without them. Left myself less than 10 minutes to sprint the mile+ uphill to Waverley where I jumped onto the NB train without time to buy a ticket. I had also not packed a sandwich and would be relying on the coop at NB for sustenance, about 15 miles into the day. 

Magnolia Tree. 
As a painter and decorator I can tell you these flowers are not magnolia. Rather, they don't correspond to the warm, yellow off-white of magnolia emulsion. For the QI nerds Magnolia is named after the French Botanist Pierre Magnol so I suspect I should be asking for 5lts of maƱolia next time I'm at the paint shop. That should go down well.

Last TB I totally failed to pin down this wm at Longniddry Parish Church because I was waffling away to Toby while we ran past the end of the street. This time I nailed it. Although the church was closed I could see the memorial on the wall through a window, without having to climb fences or jimmy open back doors. Praise be. On a sadder note, note the 3 Gitshams lost. 

Deep fried food outdoors, take a bow Alanda. Bet (hope) they don't serve local fish.

Last time here with Toby we went round the coast at Kilspindie, this time I took the usual trail parallel to the road. I was slightly concerned with just how long it might all take. I was moving slowly and taking loads of photos and felt I shouldn't stray off the known paths too much. However as soon as I crossed the bridge at Aberlady (above) I began to get adventure fever and diverted off the normal path to go towards the coast - into what we call the savannah. It is a bit of a swamp to start with and I nearly turned round right there at the first damp footstep. But I was glad I persisted, because, being the road less travelled it usually yields up something of interest. I wasn't expecting this though....

The Easter bunny had left his/her paints. I know this because it was the only other critter for miles...

...and I had obviously disturbed it painting a late Easter egg...

This was a rather random sight.
Couldn't help think this wasn't laid here, or being overseen by the parents. It was massive, heavy (presumably goose) and might have made a splendid breakfast. 

Saw several ladybirds. Possibly 7 spot. Someone inform Springwatch!

subliminal pedalhouse reference
I got distracted at stoner corner. There is a small bay with more delightful stones and shells than any art gallery and I spent some time curating some installations before snapping out of it and heading along to NB. 

I will be reviewing these soon. Hoka Challenger ATR. Excellent lightweight trail shoes, particularly fine over this sort of ground. Haven't had any black nails in months. 

There are a number of these subconscious writing stones on the beach below Archerfields. If you look quickly without too much focus they almost appear to have words written on them, like a literary Rorschach Test. This one might say University of Hull or Van Helsing or The Vanishing. It certainly doesn't say My Vagina. No sir.

As you can imagine a sunny Saturday brought out the hoardes at Yellow Craigs. 
This image is my concession to that.

Good to see the sea urchin at NB beach making a full recovery.

Excellent beach art. 

Although it was tropically sunny there was a very chilly head wind that doesn't really show up on the photos. I put on my buff and gloves after lunch and kept them on for the rest of the run. These wee dudes were all huddled on the lee side of these rocks. A lot of the humans were doing similar: sat behind beach-screens and outcrops. 

Since the big camera doesn't do any closer up than x3 zoom I got out the compact (yes 2 cameras!) and zoomed in x20.

I think this is a Red Shank, Keith P will tell me what the other ones are. Don't have time to look em up just now!

I ate my co-op sandwich and tablet beside the birds and plants at the other end of NB. I reprimanded myself for not buying more snacks for later. I was also running with low amounts of water but this wasn't an issue as it was not that warm and I actually got home with a quarter pint left in my reservoir. Which is odd given I probably only consumed <2 litres over about 8hrs.

Throughout the run I was getting big wafts of deja-vu. Not proper deja-vu but really just oh I remember there will be fritillary coming up about now in the gardens there, and there will be difficult-to-snap butterflies teasing me all along this sunny wall (on the JMW) and here is my favourite sign AGAIN. Stuff like that. 

I did a quick check of previous blogs and sure enough I ran this same route twice last April and similar routes the year before. And (apologies here) I have taken remarkably similar photos of the plants and scenery. It's funny how I forget having posted a photo of that red gate, but when I run past I see it and think hey that'll make a good photo. And there is EXACTLY the same photo 2 years ago. (Mary says it is not a surprise to her.) It would appear I am a creature of rigid habit locked into a far smaller cage than I imagine. And I thought I was free as a bird, pointing the camera in a nearly random fashion. Ho hum!

That red gate!
Here is last year's simulacrum - and I was wearing the same clothes exactly except for sunglasses and not buff. And following 2 photos are also the same-ish! Nothing if not consistent.

Those difficult-to-snap butterflies. Get to within 10 feet and they frustratingly fly off. Seems like they were doing this last year and the year before as well!

my FAVOURITE sign.

At Binning Woods I took a different route. Last time I was here I came from the other side and took a single track path along the lower edge (past the cemetery) over to Newbyth. I found sections of that route today, coming from the opposite direction, but then went a bit off piste, quite enjoying the frisson of getting a bit lost. The pace would have dropped drastically as I set up about 3 video run-pasts and didn't put the Garmin off while doing so. You end up running each section 3 times. Once to set the camera, then retreat while shooting, then return to collect camera. I have long admired Coastkid's biking videos and he frequently bothers to do this. It is a bit of a guddle and probably added an hour to the day out, but when the day and surroundings are this fantastic, you can't complain.

Me and the funky moped know otherwise.

legs like treetrunks

I meant to approach the beach from beside the log cabin however slightly undershot that and popped out here. 

 I was getting a bit weary by this point and wondering how long it would take to run the rather grim last few road miles into NB. However the wind was now behind me and it was a spectacular evening so it wasn't too bad.

No black toenails but filthy feet. 

In the waiting room I emptied my shoes and socks of sand and put on dry shorts and top. Since the train wasn't due for 30mins I did a load of stretching which was very useful. I was feeling pretty good, but not so good that I could be arsed going back into NB for some food. I must have been a bit low-blood-sugar by the time the train came, as a harmless old couple further down the carriage were pissing me off terribly. I had to give her my best unacceptable-death-stare when she started to sing and act up to the crass tunes on her headphones.

There is no point, I thought while taking photos of the sunset out the window, in taking these as they never come out. Okay, wrong. (Again!) Big thanks to East Lothian for hosting a fab day out.

ps. A few blogs ago I posed the question what was the subject of the informative book lying on the table inside Bunny's Lodge in the Lammermuirs. As far as I can remember and off the top of my head nobody actually got it right; but I know you are all dying to know it was a book on birds. That makes it a rollover for next quiz.


  1. Great Blog post Peter!, Brilliant pics and great writing...
    Looking forward to the film when you make it!

  2. ON 1 MOONHILL - that's what it says on the stone!

  3. Another great blog, even with the recycled photos.. Oh, and the stone which as far as I can see says, 'One Wan Hill' (Bolton City Wanderers Nil, I suppose..)

  4. Thanks Bruce. Film coming soon!

    Also: I think I am going to collect all the wordy stones and start a therapy class or just go straight to cult.