Outdoor Discoveries

What originally was a news section for the rest of the website soon became a place for me to write about human-powered wanderings in the countryside. Photography inspires me to get out there, mostly on foot these days, though cycling got me started. Musings on the wider context of outdoor activity complete the picture, so I hope that there is something of interest in all that you find here. Thank you for coming!

Shoreline stravaiging in East Lothian

24th December 2022

Aside from getting windows upgraded in a house in Ireland and an announcement of future disruptive tax changes, the autumn of 2018 was steadier for me. It was a big difference from that of 2017 when emotional decompression was in order, or in 2016 when I had a big task in progress in Ireland. With less weighing on me, I was able to get out more whenever the weather offered.

Lamb, Craigleith and Bass Rock from Broad Sands, North Berwick, East Lothian, Scotland

One such occasion happened during a weekend stay in Edinburgh. That allowed me to walk from North Berwick to Seton Sands, surveying the East Lothian coastline as I did so. This had been inspired by an issue of The Great Outdoors magazine that I had read shortly beforehand.

Bass Rock from Hummel Ridges, North Berwick, East Lothian, Scotland

Lamb from Hummel Ridges, North Berwick, East Lothian, Scotland

Craigleith from Hummel Ridges, North Berwick, East Lothian, Scotland

There may have been a plan to follow the John Muir Way, but I was lured onto the beach at North Berwick, so I attempted to do most of my walking in the intertidal zone with exceptions when it did not work out. Views of offshore islands like Lamb, Craigleith and the more distant Bass Rock all held my attention as I continued on sand and over rocky outcrops.

Fidra from across the Brigs of Fidra, North Berwick, East Lothian, Scotland

Fidra from Weaklaw Rocks, North Berwick, East Lothian, Scotland

It took time for views to change, although the ground underfoot was ever varied. Eventually, the islands that had been near where I started began to grow ever more distant. Others were out strolling too, but there was ample space for all of us. The tide was well out, and I even spied some kitesurfing going on in the shallow waters near the island of Fidra. After that, my lot included crossing of dunes and rocky outcrops to get to Gullane Bay. My course was changing from westerly to southerly as I went.

Hummell Rocks, Gullane, East Lothian, Scotland

Bleaching Rocks, Gullane, East Lothian, Scotland

Gullane Point, Gullane, East Lothian, Scotland

Eventually, I needed to go inland a smidgen around Gullane Point to reach Gullane Sands and Aberlady Bay. The prospect of a rising tide began to occupy my thoughts as I made my way across a broad expanse of sand. Behind me, I could see North Berwick Law catching some sun. My way to Gosford Sands was blocked by the depth of Peffer Burn, so I had no option except to turn inland to Aberlady. Momentary concern about tides cause me to cross the burn and get my trousers well wet in the process. A calmer mind would have ensured a retreat to a bridge instead of that more drastic action.

Looking towards the Pentland Hills and Arthur's Seat from near Gullane, East Lothian, Scotland

Sunshine had been terminated by a cloud-filled sky by this stage, but views of Edinburgh’s hills were not obstructed. Following the route of the John Muir Way conveyed me from Aberlady to Seton Sands, where a waiting bus convinced me not to walk any further. Nearby Gosford Sands or the beach of Seton Sands itself did not tempt me. Wet attire, though drying, was one dampener, but another came in the form of a little rain for a time. As it happens, I do not remember Gosford Sands not having that much extent at the time, in any case. What was also comforting was the quietness of the trail as light began to decline, since I was feeling more than a little foolish after my dunking.

While there might have been the prospect of following the John Muir Way for most of the way back to my hotel, it probably was best to curtail those ambitions for another time. Another trip to Edinburgh could use such a scheme, and there also is the possibility of including Dunbar in a hike. Neither idea has been used yet, but one hike easily inspires more, as I have found over the years. My wander along the East Lothian coastline had brought many delights and I even hear the sea as I look at the photos too.

Travel Arrangements

A return train journey got me from Macclesfield to Edinburgh and back. A single train journey got me from Edinburgh to North Berwick for the start of the walk, while Lothian bus services returned me to my lodgings from Seton Sands.

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