Mary had boldly upped her long slow to marathon distance this weekend, and chosen the JMW as the venue. We would catch the first train to Dunbar (a leisurely 11.05) and run back through E Linton and N Berwick to Aberlady where we would catch the bus back to Edinburgh, having clocked up 26 miles. We wouldn't need to carry much as there were shops at EL and NB. If there was to be little in the way of sunshine then at least there was also little in the way of wind.
The road up to the station was fairly busy and it was a relief to catch the train out of town and be running down the empty streets of Dunbar and out Belhaven Bay. We followed the route of the Festive Half past East Links Family Park which was hoaching with interesting animals.
you lookin at me?
push me pull you
The rather overcast weather even made Hedderwick a bit drab.
cormorant having a mud bath
In no time we were along to East Linton. I made a quick diversion to the public toilets in the park (thank the baby jesus they were open!) then joined M coming out of the Scotmid with oatcakes and cheese (slices) which made an excellent picnic on the bench at the junction next to the flowers. We had been discussing what would make the best lunch and oatcakes worked out very well. For dessert we had Mrs. Tilly's orange fudge which is (I imagine) as more-ish as heroin. If not more so.
The JMW out of EL climbs a steep hill from which you can see over to NB Law.
Just before Stink Farm there were 7 deer.
I have a feeling these are Fallow Deer whereas we usually see Roe Deer (I think.)
They were keeping an eye on Mary ready to....
I was thinking they maybe weren't cooking up at Stink Farm today but it was just a trick of the wind. As we went past it was HOWLING. We reckon it is fertiliser and involves long dead fish and boiled rubber. I asked Mary to make a face to illustrate the pong but she was too busy trying not to BOAK.
There are many pleasant bits between East Linton and North Berwick though as M said it has the air, in places, of somewhere you might dispose of a body.
Regulars will know this is my favourite JMW sign. I love that it has character. So now they've screwed on a small nasty white sign and fucked it right up. Some folk have no souls. Was that in case the writing of the original was too legible? If someone comes along with a screwdriver and "moves" the new plastic turd then don't be surprised.
Today was a day of meeting friends. Yesterday we had bumped into Bruce M as he finished his ride just as we were setting out. Today we saw George (in cafe) as we went along NB High St. We chatted about his plans for London and wished him well.
Mary had a coffee and homebake but I went for beans on toast. I said to Mary it would have been perfect if they had put cheese on top. She reminded me I had cheese slices in my pack from the oatcakes. I dug one out and hell it was good.
I could see a light grey lump from the shore but didn't know what it was till I got home.
Getting going again after NB was tough. We had both seized up a bit as you do, but the shared Double Decker hadn't agreed with Mary and she had to stop a few times on the way along the beach to catch her breath so to speak. The DD would go round another corner and she would feel ok for another mile, then have to stop again. Luckily the sun came out making it rather pleasant. We also failed to spot Shery who was waving on west beach.
For a few miles the skies cleared and a hazy sun shone. It was magical and I felt if it only stayed like this we could go on all day. It didn't, but we did.
There was an impressively low tide when we got to Fidra / Archerfields. I had threatened to see if we could possibly time it so this happened (which allows us to run on the sand banks you rarely get round there making life easier than rock-hopping on the beach.) But what with the time obligations of trains to Dunbar, stoppage time for eating and fluctuating pace, Mary said just forget it; if it happens then it happens. So it was an unexpected treat that it happened.
By Gullane the sun had gone and the clouds covered the whole arc of the sky. However a couple more chance meetings lifted the spirits, and the going seemed pretty easy from there to the finish, at Aberlady.
My brain was a bit mashed by Gullane. Too many miles of coastline and too much fresh air and the tangy smell of seaweed (and discussions about io-deen or io-dine), and I had lost a grip on whether it was yesterday or last Monday or today as I had been running here on all three occasions. So I would have run right past Alison and her family had she not recognised me. It is probably 30 years or so since we last met. Until a chance meeting on facebook. And then, now.
And then at the other end of Gullane as we ran through the car park, we were spotted by Caroline, Jonny and kids about to have a wander along the beach while Jonny went for a swim (preparation for Celtman, get used to the cold water!) I was not envious of Jonny's swim. The sun had gone and it was looking pretty Baltic. We shuffled onwards and the last few miles to Aberlady were really not the chore the last few of a long run often are. The tide was surprisingly far out and it seemed the subs at Aberlady were half way up the beach. The sand was pleasantly firm and there wasn't too much wind. We chugged into Aberlady and checked the bus times. Just time to run a wee bit more then catch the 6.32. Mary's calculations were about perfect to make the distance up to 26 and a half after adding the first mile up to the train and the last half mile down from the bus.
As we got on the bus (we had been wondering how much exact fare to have ready) there was a sign saying £3.50 day ticket. OK that's fine. Mary got the £7 out but was asked for £7.60. I was reminded of the corner shop recently when I bought 3 packs of gum and the total came to £2 which just isn't divisible by 3.
We both felt crocked getting off the bus. We had forgotten to do any stretches or flexing on the bus and I was hardly able to walk as we got off. Although it was only marathon distance the lumpy underfoot conditions had left ankles, toes and knees trashed. Maybe this JMW ultra was going to be a bit harder than I imagined. Just because I am really familiar with the route (which they haven't announced yet) doesn't make it a walk in the park. Half way down Leith Walk I popped into a shop while Mary carried on down the road. Exiting the shop I found my ankles repaired and as I sprinted down the road (shoogling beer) reckoned I'd just about be able to beat M to the front door if I gave it some. I picked up the pace....
plus a mile to the train and a half home