North Berwick

Tuesday 30 August: Not St Abbs! That was our intended destination, but there was a tailback on the A1 just past the cement works. “Let’s go to North Berwick instead”. It was a good choice – great rolls and cakes from a High Street deli and a bench with an extensive view across the Firth of Forth to the Fife fishing villages (try saying that quickly!), encompassing all the little islands off this coast. Now replete, we can explore a little – along the beach to the harbour and the lookout point. Plenty of interest in all directions – we’ll have to come again!

Tomorrow – back to Shropshire…

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The river and the palace

Monday 29 August: A day out, by rail, from Dunbar to Glasgow, calling at the town of Linlithgow on the return journey. Glasgow was in the grip of a refuse collectors strike (happily settled just a day or two later), with overflowing bins everywhere. The riverside was altogether more wholesome… 

An hour in Linlithgow gave me time to explore a little, finding the loch and the former royal palace – the town became a royal burgh as long ago as 1388. It might have been worth spending a little longer there, but I didn’t want to find myself having to catch a rush hour train from Waverley to Dunbar. Perhaps another day.

See ‘Return to Glasgow‘ on Geoff’s Rail Diaries for a record of the rail journey

Lunch at Pole Bank

Yesterday the forecast suggested a mostly sunny ‘lunch out’ day, but this morning it was less hopeful – it would cloud up later, with rain on the way. It was certainly very pleasant on the way to Pole Bank, beside the aptly named Small Batch, and I enjoyed my lunch near the highest point of the Long Mynd. But as I gaze out across the lonely country around Bishop’s Castle and Heath Mynd, the cloud is gathering, and with the possibility of thunder, I’ll head back. The Ashes Hollow is too good to hurry, of course, and it stayed dry. The first drops were falling twenty minutes later as I neared home, dry in the car.

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Hazy day on Brown Clee

It may have been hazy – no wonderful views of the Welsh heights – but it was very pleasant on this warm early-September afternoon. Quiet too – just three other people. The heather is still in bloom; the gorse is yellow, there are red rowan berries galore. What more can one ask? (An ice cream van at the top maybe? Perish the thought!)

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Golden sands

Friday 26 August: A shoreline walk to the west of Dunbar. The route I’ve shown on the map starts and ends at the “Bridge to Nowhere”, where there’s space for parking (I walked there…). It’s very nearly high tide and the bridge isn’t usable yet, the approach paths on either side are under water. Instead, I’ll follow the John Muir Way as far as the bridge over the Hedderwick Burn. I won’t cross it – I’ll walk along the shore around Hedderwick Hill plantation (which may need replanting after the devastation of last winter’s storm). Crossing the dunes brings me back to the beach, which is quiet at first, becoming more popular as I head back towards the bridge to nowhere. Happily, the tide has begun to ebb and I can cross without getting wet feet. I may need to hurry along a bit now – the sky’s looking rather threatening – are those the first drops of rain?

There are oystercatchers and curlews in the creeks and marshes, and on the beach are smaller birds (I think they’re sanderlings), skittering about trying to retrieve tasty morsels without getting wet. They’re never still for a moment, which makes getting a decent photo tricky…

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East coast sunset

Thurs. 25 August: We’re spending a few days in Dunbar, on the north-east coast of Scotland, where the Firth of Forth has become the North Sea. By the time we’ve arrived and settled, there’s only enough daylight left for a quick walk along the clifftop paths. It doesn’t look as though the sun will shine – I won’t take a camera… Inevitably, the unexpected sunset was well worth a photo or two – I’ll use the phone.

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