Northumbria and the Scottish Borders – Day Five

It’s not a good looking day weather wise – it’s cloudy and overcast.

We’re going to check out North Berwick today, so retrace our steps from last night and back to the little car park. We walk along the road a bit until we find a spot where we can access the beach easily. The Dog has recharged overnight and eager to chase the ball again – where does she get this energy? We stop and chat to people along the way and suffer our most embarrassing moment of the trip so far. Chatting away to a fellow dog walker, we spot our black dog in the distance, by the road and instinctively yell at her to come back. But squinting I realise that it isn’t our dog at all and look around for her. She’s patiently sitting by the side of me, panting and waiting for the ball to be thrown. Before I can stop him, Hubby bellows again at the seemingly disobedient dog who has totally ignored him. I tap him gently on the shoulder and point at our bemused dog, who’s really baffled. The other dog owner suppresses a giggle, as we casually laugh it off, commenting about why black dog owners insist on putting red collars and harnesses on their hounds, so they all look similar. It’s so confusing y’know. She leaves us in our deranged little world and we slunk off to the town centre.

The sky is getting blacker and blacker, really dark. Of course, I’ve left my raincoat in the van and can imagine getting drenched in the middle of the beach. Again, it’s quite cold – no worries it’s only July. We approach the harbour, walking past the little seawater lido built into the sand – a few brave souls braving the elements. We have a wander around. Little cottages and warehouses line the street which opens to a little harbour. We cross over to the harbour walls and out to a little spur with long range views of other side of the Forth and Bass Rock. A metal bridge prevents The Dog and I going any further. It’s a rather pleasant area with a museum and sealife/information building.  There’s a cafe with a grassy area and tables, but it’s quite busy.  So we head up a terraced street, all brownstone houses and built in the typical Scottish style, and come across the High Street. Remarkably, it is starting to brighten up, the black clouds being pushed away. The High Street is buzzing and has a great selection of shops, again all very charming. We stop for a coffee and park ourselves outside on some tables, when we realise that the sun has come out properly and we’re sitting in the shade. Doh!

We wander up and down, nipping into shops to get odd bits and pieces, every time having to faff around with the facemask, sanitising hands, steering around people. A family have parked a big 4 x 4 on the High Street and have blocked the pavement completely with car doors and baby buggies so people have to go into the road to get round them. Some people are so oblivious to their surroundings.

The High Street gives way to some handsome villas and grand houses, set back in lovely gardens. We’re liking North Berwick very much. Very respectable and charming. It seems to be a very nice commuter town with Edinburgh being only some 30 odd miles away. We cut down a side road, popping out by yet another golf course and beyond that the west beach. To our right, is a putting green with a sign declaring that it soon would be converted to a 200 space car park. I was aghast! Together, it was a lovely open green space with fabulous views. I was very tempted to sign the ongoing petition to save it from the asphalt! Just so lazy people can park their tin boxes as close to the beach as possible. I hope the good residents of North Berwick save their open space!

We cross the golf course to another vast curving bay of fabulous sand (though slightly grittier than Northumbria’s).  The ball gets thrown into the sea, so The Dog gets to swim – one of her favourite pastimes.  Her energy levels seem boundless despite her 12 years. She just keeps going.  Eventually, we head back into town and suss out a fish and chip shop and to stock up on sweeties. Initially we head back to the harbour, but the fish and chip shop turns out to be that little cafe. No, we want the real thing, so we walk back towards the High Street and find a proper one.  They must of just opened and are setting out tables outside as we get served immediately. The big plan was to wander back to the harbour to eat our food, but the wind is strong and cool and it’s got considerably busier down there.  Here, we’re sheltered, though it’s on the pavement and people are passing by.  The fish and chips are delicious and The Dog gets her customary sausage. Towards the end of the meal, seagulls start to swoop around, looking to grab food – we quickly finish and gather our stuff.

We decide to take another route back to the campsite.  As we turn the corner onto the main road, there’s a delightful little communal gardens with benches in the sun, just yards from the fish and chip shop.  That would of been a much nicer spot to have lunch! Shame we hadn’t seen it earlier.(Seems to be theme here of picking bad lunch spots!) We walk along the main road and then peel off to a wide open parkland. It leads back to the beach, but there’s cars parked everywhere now and the road is busy. It puts us off going back onto the beach. We find another entrance to the park and walk towards the golf course clubhouse. The path veers right and leads us up into a woodland, speckled with dappled sunshine with a pretty little stream running through it.  It’s quite enchanting.  We are very impressed with North Berwick.

We pop out almost opposite to an ugly Tesco superstore and a sterile grey modern housing estate in the process of being built. It was the blot on the landscape of a rather handsome town. (Who allows these things to happen?) We find a little side road which conveniently takes us to the top end of the campsite and back to the Van.  Despite the strong wind, the sun is out and it’s very warm, completely opposite to this morning.  We drag our chairs to a nearby hedge and shelter behind that, soaking up the sun and dozing.

After an afternoon of idleness and a light tea, we decide to go for another walk to check out the headland. So we drop down, across the golf course and turn right, through the grass.  There’s now quite a few people camping with tents on the beach too.  We take the high path, looking down on little beachy coves and rockpools. The views to the west are stunning with the setting sun. We are able to drop down onto the sand, walking between the rocks. You can see the volcanic history here.  We watch gannets dive into the sea for fish off the rocks and then wander towards an interesting outcrop of rock. But a sign tells us that it’s still nesting season for the birds til 31st July (what happens to the birds on the 31st – get evicted?) and to keep off.  We start to walk away when we realise there is a group of youths already on it, obviously unable to read prominent signs.  I get quite cross about these ignorant people, thinking it’s okay to walk amongst nesting birds.

We saunter along (not worth having a go at these kids) as Bass Rock hoves into view and we can see the nesting birds swooping around. It’s quite a sight. It’s a lovely evening walk and we sit for a while, taking it all in and feeling very happy.  We meet a young local couple who are off to camp on the beach further up for the night – literally just a whim after a week’s work and we are quite envious. What a lovely thing to do.

The Law is to the left and Craigleith island to the right

The island is white from birds and their guano.

The route isn’t circular so we retrace our steps back, noting the illiterate youths are now in the sea, screaming and shouting.  We walk on the high path, adjacent to the golf course, back to the unofficial campsite cum car park, where two people are playing the guitar and harmonica in the back of their camper. The evening is cooling off now and we head back to the Van to settle down to read, write diaries or just watch the world. We try and look out for the comet that’s suppose be passing Earth throughout July, but we fail to see it – clouds on the horizon don’t help.  It’s now gone 11 and still not quite dark. Finally we head to bed and fall into a deep sleep.

Author: apathtosomewhere

Come with me and my dog on my meanderings around northern England and further afield, encountering all walks of life and everything in between!

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