Monday, 31 August 2015

two laws

Nick and I decided to do the 30miler of the NB circuit & Traprain Law Hill Race. The earliest train to NB on a Sunday arrives at 11.06 and since Nick had a dinner date at 6 (last time I ran this it took 7 hrs) he parked up short of NB and ran the last 4 miles of the day beforehand meaning he could jump in his car and drive to dinner while I completed the last miles back to the station.

I got most of my stuff together the night before, as the last dregs of the festival crawled off noisily to die of alcoholism. At 2am someone was shining a bright light in the window so I took a photo of the offending moon while trying not to wake up. I had packed food (sandwiches and provisions from the ultrabox) and left the half-full backpack reservoir in the freezer making an ice cold drink for the first 15 miles. 

In one of the tumbleweed spaces behind the ticket office in Waverley lies this chronic piece of sculpture by someone I am not even going to dignify by naming. It seems to be a mix of expensively wrought bronze (looking) metal with cheap plastic stick-ons in trashy colours below ill fitting showerheads. There is no dynamism here (not so much B of the Bang as T of the Turd) and none of what we used to refer to in the old days as truth-to-materials. I am at a loss to know what it is doing there. That said I think my photo of it is great. However if you step back and show the whole thing it looks like a white elephant without relevance or intelligence, looking like it has been abandoned en route between galleries. Nobody has even taken the trouble to vandalise it, despite it looking like so much left luggage. It should definitely be taken away and detonated.

I stepped off the crowded train of holiday makers to meet Nick and after getting a signal we set off up North Berwick Law. The skies were pretty clear and the view out to the Isle of May was sharp. There was a background sense of urgency so we didn't hang around. However it wasn't race pace either. Also we spent the whole time chatting. 

From there we followed the JMW till the turn off at Balgone House curling pond. Just time for a quick snap of a Damselfly then up past the big house, back onto the JMW and on to Stink Farm.

spider getting in on the act

It has been some while since I didn't take the turn off to Binning Wood, instead pressing on to East Linton. Nick cleverly surmised there may well be a war memorial in Memorial Park. There was. Two of the four sides have plaques with the names of local war dead from WW1 and WW2 with the other 2 sides left alarmingly in readiness for future altercations. I wasn't all that bothered about making this run a Tynecastle Bronze event since I had completed August's just recently. Until Nick pointed out that the month (for TB's) changes on the 28th making today's run eligible for Sept. Right enough. Monument done we would have to make sure we got the full 30 miles. 

We were still carrying plenty of supplies so ran past the coop at E Linton (9miles) deferring shopping until the next time we passed at 16 miles. From here the route follows the riverside trails of the Tyne up to Hailes Castle then climbs up to Traprain Law. Nick suggested lunch at Hailes Castle. He used to visit there regularly when his kids were growing up and consequently knows the best place for hide and seek (the dark bread oven in the lowest part of the ruins.)

This panorama completely distorts the first floor
- it is rectangular not t-shaped and looks nothing like this!

Nick had some oatcakes and I thought I wasn't that hungry until I started eating my sandwiches and found I was starving. I put away all the sandwiches (honey and lemon curd) and a nakd bar and would have happily sat down to a 3 course meal had I packed one. Then up the hill to Trap Law where we were met by the Exmoor ponies who were dotted around the highest points as if arranged like a marvelous art installation. I didn't need to go to any exhibitions during the festival to know there was nothing remotely as fabulous as this on show there. 

If you are familiar with Trap Law race you will know we did this section back to front. Mainly because we didn't take the stream crossing to come up the other side of the Tyne. After the descent (which would only really be dangerous if you were blindfold on a bike) (in which case you wouldn't see the warning sign) we retraced our route back down the Tyne to East Linton.


We stopped for refreshments at E Linton (16miles). I bought a bag of ice and we both put handfuls into our reservoirs along with more drinks. Somehow I came out the shop with all manner of unhealthy rubbish: fudge, chocolate and a high caffeine drink. We then did a couple of road miles which passed quickly, as the caffeine increased the chat-rate from already prodigious to hectic. Almost didn't notice Binning Wood apart from making Nick clamber onto the stone mound in the large hub. Not as easy as it looks as there is a distinct lack of foot and hand holds and it is just too high for a bounding leap. I must practise this so next time we are there together I can effortlessly scale the thing and show him up.

Down Limetrees Walk and through the trees at the bottom but again I got lost in all the foliage and ferns and we ended up missing the secret trail and St Baldreds and coming out on the beach further North West than anticipated. There were loads of cars parked at the road end and sure enough the beach was as busy as I've ever seen it. Interestingly folk were spread evenly at intervals all the way up rather than bunched at the car park end. That, and the chill coastal wind did not encourage a dip on this occasion and I was still mindful we had another handful of miles to get to Nick's car. 

Unusual to see a container ship this side of the Bass Rock

The high tide forced us to climb the headland.

Nick got an impressive wooden splinter in his knee here battling through the undergrowth.

Peffer Burn is still evolving into Peffer Basin

After a good few concrete pavement miles up from the burn past Seacliff we came to Nick's car. He was only up to 29 miles so needed to another 0.5 miles out and back to hit 30 which took us to this road end. I hastily shook his hand and bid him farewell as the caffeine was working it's magic and I had a date in the field next door. (Contractions every 2 mins and I was tip-toeing the last mile). 

That sorted, I jogged into NB (via Tesco's for more water) and sure enough it was 29. This did not concern me because I always clock up 2 extra when setting off from, and returning home from Waverley.

The train was going to be 40mins so I popped round to the Kemps for a cuppa but they had the good sense to be out enjoying the weather. I loved the hop scotch welcome mat though. Totally fantastic day out with great company in near perfect weather (not too hot) and somehow we managed to do it in 4.5 hrs rather than 7. (6hrs total time; 4.5hrs moving.) One reason was fewer photos taken and I didn't chase butterflies into the next field or spend 20 minutes at the curling pond hunting frogs and taking dozens of pics. Still managed 240 photos of which the best are posted here. Normally I'd take 600 over that distance.

29 mile route

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