Wednesday, 28 November 2018

when the east wind blows

Sunday 25th Nov. The wind was blowing from the East and so we ran from home to Dalmeny and caught the train home. Once to our backs the wind became negligible although a bit more sunshine would have been welcome. This time I took a waterproof and although we got several showers none were so bad I had to resort to putting it on. Mary led us down to the Shore which was not a line I had anticipated. Interesting to see a huge long wall for the graffiti artists to spray paint. It improved the otherwise industrial vista although the water-filled ditch right up against it is a bit cruel. I quite like a bit of spray paint art but hate to see street furniture and people's doors tagged by vandals. If this sort of venue can contain the spray paint, them I'm all for it. However there does seem to be a difference between graffiti artists and tagging vandals.

This rainbow appeared early on and followed us but on the Fife side 
until it crossed over, trying to catch us just before South Queensferry.

Sadly a week too late for the Carnethy three of a kind photo competition.

I was tempted to get the bread out to feed these 3 charmers (5 really). However Mary said too early for messing about and save it for Cramond. I agreed. 

Further along the front we saw Kite Surfers. "If those dudes are in the water they are made of stronger stuff than I" says me. They were! It was a Baltic morning and really the thought of even changing into a wet suit was awful. Never mind getting in amongst the cold choppy surf. I shuddered. As we were taking pics the guy with the L on his kite (learner?) was having a bit of a struggle. He had fallen off his board and his kite was blowing him away from it. He eventually had to admit defeat and get towed inshore and let his kite drop. It seemed like a thankless sport and I'm really glad I do running instead which doesn't involve cold cold water. Just getting too old for that.

I had taken bread for the black headed gulls at Cramond - they always appreciate it at this time of the year - and knew that Mary wasn't going to be keen to stand around for long. So I put in a bit of a sprint to get there ahead of her. She went to the loos there which gave me another few moments to disperse a couple of slices. The gulls seem to know me. I threw out one piece of bread to get their attention and hadn't realised they swarmed around as quickly as they did. Looking more at my hands than around about me (trying to organise the bread in one hand and camera in other and put bread-bag back in pocket) I tossed out a second piece of bread only to lightly tap a gull in the chest. There were already dozens in formation right at my shoulder and all squawking about how they were next in line. I fairly quickly dispensed the bread and they seemed very pleased to get it. I always favour the one leggers. There seemed to be quite a few. They are tremendous fliers and I really enjoy them being so close. With the wind blowing from the East they set up shop and circled from the other side making it less easy to get well lit photos, but still an absolute pleasure. 

Also we were very lucky to have the sun shine while at Cramond. Just as we headed off, the skies darkened and we got another shower. Not as bad as the downpour we got at Granton (had to hide in a bus shelter for 3 mins) but not photo weather.

giant cigarettes ARE bad for you

Mary is normally a creature of habit but asked if we might go along this trail to avoid the sploshier coastal trail. It made a pleasant change and the views out to Cramond Island catching the light were nice.

chased by a rainbow

the light was doing great stuff with the trees and dark sky behind

never get tired of this structure

Just before exiting the Dalmeny Estate, pretty much the last house there, has a bird table out. It was well stocked with seeds and nuts and raisins and attracting squirrels as well as birds. Along with blue tits and chaffinches there was a chap I didn't recognise but thought was either a nuthatch or treecreeper. Turns out it was a Nuthatch. It was quite nervous and although visited the table lots, didn't settle or sit long on any occasion, so (given the lack of decent light) I was happy to get a couple of usable shots. There was also a well fed squirrel who was packing down the nuts.

Mary wanted to stop at the plate-making cafe near the bridge but it was quite busy and I reminded her of the last time when it was empty and yet it still took us ages to get served. Not a day for hanging around in a warm cafe then exiting into the cold weather to stand at the station waiting on a train. So Mary did without and we ran to the station where after a cold 20mins caught a train back to Edinburgh and ran home to have scrambled eggs and hot tea. YUMMY! (Always tastes better after a wintery run.)

13.8 miles plus 1 down from Waverley

to hell and back

The forecast for Saturday 24th Nov was horrible. Little point in traipsing down to East Lothian to get a good soaking so Mary came up with the uninstinctive notion that to combat fear and loathing of the xmas chaff accumulating in town we should run right through the centre of it and take some some photos of the horrors. This was weirdly appealing and appalling. 

We started by getting a famously inexpensive Pret 99p filter coffee in Waverley Station and drinking it along from the swingy chair tower of doom. This gave us the strength to mingle with the great unwashed along Princes St for a very short while but, unable to run except by dodging out into the bus lane, we ran up to George St. I had meant to photograph the German Market which seemed to be the real reason they executed the trees in the gardens there, to make room for even more German Market stalls which allegedly are filled with booze and tat, though I haven't had a strong enough stomach to investigate.

And yes the weather was suprisingly blue skied and upbeat 
- not at all what the forecast had predicted.

top of which building?

Mary had mentioned the Silent Disco at the west end of George St. I assumed this was the same structure as was there before (The Virgin temple-of-the-money-lenders) however it is an entirely new pleasure dome with about a million tiny bulbs set in a large skeletal frame. I assume it is to entertain the rebellious children of mothers and fathers who campaign for ecological thrift and not squandering resources. I was amused by the way each end has a subliminal churchy feel mimicking (mocking?!) circular stained glass windows set in a basilica. 

So where to now asked Mary. Since we were at the west end I suggested Corstorphine Hill, our favourite new-this-year running venue. I also suggested popping into Run and Become to say hello, but it was Saturday, so Corstophine it was. Unfortunately we hadn't realised there was a game on at Murrayfield so from Shandwick Place were fighting through the crowds. Mary pointed out they (Rugby fans) were far more polite (and some were even encouraging) than the football fans we get milling along to Easter Rd every home game. It was still a relief to turn off the main road and through the wee gate that leads up the hill. Immediately, fuelled by coffee, we started singing nonsense songs, taking photos and larking about.

As we got to the top of the hill and turned the corner, before beginning the descent to Ravelston the sky grew dark and we saw a massive downpour directly ahead. I hadn't bothered to take a waterproof so put the camera in a poly bag and dashed under some trees on the golf course. We stood for a few minutes until the worst had passed over, but it was too cold to stand for long, and we ran into the tail end of the rain, which fell on and off for the remainder of the run home. The camera only came out briefly to try to record a dipper asleep under the Pizza Express Bridge at Stockbridge. I believe it was asleep because it wasn't moving or bobbing as they do constantly. 

just under 10 miles