D3: English Coast Path

D3: NORTH BERWICK    DUNBAR

Friday 20th April 2018

Today miles 16.2             Total miles 59.2

      Usually for me I slept remarkably well last night and was woken by the alarm which I had set for 6.45am. I boiled myself a cup of coffee and sat wrapping up my toes, hoping to avoid any more blisters. Despite clear blues skies there were no golfers on ‘The Glen’ golf course just South of North Berwick. I had some great views across the Firth of Forth towards Bass Rock. This small uninhabited Island is home to the worlds largest colony of Island Gannets, there’s estimated to be more then 120,000 making their home here. A little further along the coast I came to Gin Head and spotted the now abandoned ex-naval radar station. It is literally sat on the edge of the cliffs looking out towards the water and Bass Rock. It’s a massive building and is currently up for sale for a cool £3.5million. I then had to hop over a few wire fences as I got closer to The 14th century Tantallan Castle. It was still fairly early so the castle wasn’t yet open to the public. I took the opportunity to sit on one of the wooden benches near the Historic Scotland visitors centre and had a short break. When I looked at the way ahead I couldn’t see a way across the deep ravine South of the castle. There were several hedgerows and other obstacles in my way so I strode off inland before returning to the coast at ‘The Gegan’. I didn’t intend or need another break but this was such a great location that I removed my shoes and spent almost 30 minutes relaxing in front of St Baldreds Caveand watching a couple of horses (with riders) galloping along the beach.

I took to the sand for the next hour and noticed that people had used the washed up planks of wood to build several remarkable sculptures along the beach. I grabbed another short break at the highest point of St Baldreds Cradle and said ‘Hello’ to several fellow backpackers as they passed me by. I was also getting low on drinking water so would need to monitor my intake for the next few hours. I know from experience if I don’t drink enough I suffer from headaches and cramp in my legs. I momentarily lost my bearings on the many tracks running through Little Bining Woods and decided just to stay as close to the coastline as possible. I had to cross the River Tyne (not the one that runs through Newcastle) on the Tyninghame House Estate. The first bridge I encountered had solid metal gates on either end, fortunately they were unlocked and I crossed easily, I couldn’t see another bridge on the map for several miles. I picked up the John Muir Way again and drank the last of my water.

Luckily I found some public toilets with clean water near the East Links Family Park, these were the cleanest public toilets that I’ve ever seen. On the approach into Dunbar I found a nice comfortable bench  and removed my boots and socks. I woke to the sound of a barking dog some 45 minutes later, fully refreshed. I was impressed with the little bit of Dunbar that I saw. Dunbar is famous as the birthplace of the explorer John Muir and the Eastern end of the JMW starts at Dunbar harbour.

I left the coastal path close to the harbour and began the short journey back to the car. I happened by chance to come across Dunbar’s tribute to its fishing heritage. The ‘Creel Loaders’ was unveiled as recently as 2016 and as a sculpture it was pretty impressive. I’m not a big fan of this arty stuff but don’t mind admitting that this particular piece was worthy of my time.

 

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