- Chris Jones
Day 44 & 45. Mon & Tues 27, 28th March. Dunbar to North Berwick.
I had a much needed rest day and visited the church in Dunbar, this is becoming a bit of a habit if I find myself holed up on a Sunday. I've said before that I am not a religious person but there is something about sitting in a church listening to the service. It's a peaceful place, the music is nice, the words of the hymns sometimes interesting and I try to keep an open mind about the stories I hear, that is all I believe they are, stories. That said, I guess they are sometimes stories a person can read into and possibly use to help guide them towards being a better person, help them to be a more tolerant person towards their neighbours and there is nothing wrong with that. More than that are the structures themselves, especially the older churches I have visited, it's often difficult to work out what if anything of the buildings is original as many of the older ones were knocked about during conflicts, dare I say conflicts created over the very purpose the churches were built for in the first place... to promote peace, love and goodwill to they fellow creatures !!! 😬
A morbid pastime I know but I also like to have a walk around the church yards, you never know what you might discover...
Another story of a man, a story I will never get to learn.
This part of the coast has been plotted out and on the most part, The John Muir Way guides walkers along the coastline. The path does track inland to pass through country parks and other places of interest so I had to continuously refer to my map to try and stay near the coast. Not always possible, the unbridged rivers and gorges forcing me inland to enable me to get on and actually, because of private property situated along the water I missed huge sections of the coast. I know there is the right to roam in Scotland but where the land is fenced off right down to the beach with big signs warning folk to keep out due to the Large Bulls wandering aboot... It would be a braver man than me that wishes to enforce his right to roam at the risk of becoming the play thing of an enormous horned beast weighing in at over a ton !!!
That said, being allergic to most things with four legs and covered with lots of hair, I was drawn to stand and have a good chat with this handsome beast for a while, being a Scottish horse it wouldn't have understood a word I was saying !!! Hence the way it just stood staring at me twitching its ears...
A little further up and once again having to box inland to get around a large property, once a big stately home with many signs warning folk to keep out, I walked through a little village called Tantallon. I swear, this place was left behind as time has marched on, it was difficult to work out what time it was left in but when I heard the faint sound of a banjo playing somewhere close by, I promise you, I smartened up my step a little... I did have a chuckle at the sign on this old van, how old is this van by the way ? An old Austin Morris and I can never remember ever seeing one like it !!!
The Haggisman, claiming his own cure for your hangover... I've heard that black pudding is a great cure for a hangover but never haggis !!! I wouldn't know, I don't often take a drink !!! 🤔
The walk around Torness Nuclear power station surprised me, an enormous complex as you'd imagine being a power station but the first one I've ever encountered that you can walk between it and the sea. Normally a huge walk to get around such places walking along boring roads but this one has a purpose build pathway allowing walkers to enjoy the coast and to appreciate the need for such places to be situated so close to the water. Whales are often seen feeding just off the shore where the warm water escapes from the power station, I kept a keen eye on the water but nothing to see.
A late stop for lunch in a pretty little cafe looking out over the water and at Bass Rock, a small island just off the coast. A volcanic rock famous for containing the worlds largest colony of Northern gannets, when the birds return for breeding the entire rock turns white, obviously covered in guano... St Baldred was apparently the first bloke to pitch up on the island in 600AD, with all that bird shit, I'll not be trying to put my tent up any time soon... Can you imagine the smell ???
Only another hour or so and I was in North Berwick, surrounded on all sides by golf courses so clearly quite a posh place. After my late lunch, a large bowl of Cullen Skink, no, that isn't the Scottish name for a rare disease, its a lovely thick creamy soup made up of smoked haddock, potatoes and onions. Anyway, that large bowl I'd enjoyed was having designs on escaping my gurgling midriff so with the public lavvies locked shut, the pub was my only option....
They had even tried to disguise the place, clearly to keep tourists out but I'd already got to grips with speaking and reading 'jockanese', nae bother pal.... 😂