Thursday, 15 January 2015

The Mineral Man & Mad Cows !

Wednesday was my first cycle of 2015 it's been a while due to my work shift pattern, the weather & family stuff, so I was mad keen to get out although the forecast was not too good, 2 degrees with a wind chill of minus -6, 25 mph winds & gusting into the 40's ! So no matter where I went it was going to be a hard slog.

So I decided to take a trek along the coast to the Cove harbour just across the border into Berwickshire as I haven't been along there for a wee while & it's always a nice picturesque place to visit no matter what the weather, then a return journey up the hills back home with the wind on my tail.
 Leaving my Innerwick home base I always like to cast an eye up to the flag on my kids fort to see which way the wind blows & today it was a freezing cold southerly gale, great for blowing the cobwebs off.

With the wind behind me I head for the coast passing through a field track to Crowhill farm which I was regretting as the hawthorn hedge bordering the track had been recently cut & with the clippings strewn across the track I was expecting a puncture or two but it fortunately I avoided a puncture this time. Then across the A1 road to Thorntonloch beach with Torness power station now behind me.



 It was a freezing cold wind blowing sand up into my face, but the tide was out & the beach was deserted, the wind was creating some crazy swirly sand patterns.


Even the normal route that the Thornton burn takes to the sea has been altered with the wild weather & a natural dam has been made by the rocks on the beach diverting the burn westwards.

 Glad to be off the beach & onto the John Muir Way link path which joins up with the Southern Upland Way.
Great views looking out to sea.

 Where there was once a wall which has given way & fallen down the hill to the beach below.
Frosty ferns & rock solid hard tracks.









Out of the gusty icy wind glad to be protected by the trees of the  Bilsdean wood & a welcome rest was needed after fighting against the brutal cross winds, so it was a good opportunity to take five, re-fuel & grab some photos of the Lin waterfall.

 I always think of this place as like a rain forest as it's always damp, wet & covered in moss due to the waterfall.

 Nature has some weird ways, this sycamore tree which is a lot bigger than it looks in the picture growing out of the rock & hanging over the waterfall defies gravity ! The roots must be well into the ground to support it's sheer size & weight.
Rock face catching the last of the suns rays for the day.
Now as regular readers of my blog will know I'm always searching around the Dunglass beach looking for fossils & this man caught my interest as he was scanning the ground picking up stones & examining them, so as I approached him I asked him if he had found many fossils of interest in which he replied to me that it was a particular stone he was looking for called 'Jasper' he put his hand into his pocket & pulled out some that he had found, then wetting it in a rock pool he showed me how it's colours change & are enhanced when wet. He gave me a couple of pieces that he had found to take home to show the kids. He himself cuts & polishes the stones he finds.
 I read up a bit on-line about Jasper & learned that it is a microcrystalline form of Quartz & it's an ancient gemstone which even has a mention in the bible.
 I talked to him for a good three quarters of an hour about fossils, rocks, geology & the usual weather chat & could of listened to him for hours as he had a vast knowledge & enthusiasm & I was captured with his wisdom, a very interesting man that I hope to bump into again some day.



The Jasper samples he gave me dry & wet.


Pictures I sourced on-line of the polished Jasper stone...

...and some examples of the stone used in jewellery.
 Anyway of I went on my merry way to the Cove harbour passing by the old cottage at Bilsdean Creek.



But before I go to the harbour a slight detour was planned to grab this trig point called 'Castle Dykes' & another one bagged.





Memorial to the many Cove fisherman who died at sea when a severe storm struck the south of Scotland claiming the lives of 189  fisherman along the coast 11 of which were from the Cove..

 Such a photogenic place the Cove harbour & often used in television programmes & commercials & I always have a laugh at the seagull donation box there's even a slot for notes.


 The tunnel which travels under the cliffs to emerge out at the beach & is a real sun trap of a beach during the summer months.
The tunnel has other tunnels within it once used for stashing contraband & back at the other side of the tunnel down on the shore is another tunnel which leads up to the near by village of Cockburnspath  to the former pub, but the tunnel was blocked off during work carried out dualing one carriageway of the A1.

Teasel seed pods against the pink sandstone cliffs.





Pictures taken time to go back through the tunnel.





 The idyllic Cove cottage, it was once larger than this at both ends but for whatever reason they ends were demolished, now used by the local fishermen as a store.





So many angles to take photo's !






The local boats used to catch lobsters & crabs.

A couple of buoy's one hanging around & the other bobbing about.
 From the harbour pier looking over to the tunnel.


Long rock & Hollow rock, near to Hollow rock is Tod's Hole, a natural cave around 21 metres deep.





 Some more pictures around the harbour.



The power of wind & wave as the relentless erosion takes it's toll on the stone on the houses & rocks show the ever lasting battle.




Back up the hill to the Cove hamlet stopping for a final few pictures before heading up & into the hills on the way home.

 Through the Dunglass estate passing the beautiful Collegiate church which has a little Scotways track to Oldhamstocks.


The wind was really gusty down by the coast but as I climbed up into the hills it was even colder & in my face, struggling to take breaths it was the case of keeping the head down & the legs turning.
 I wonder if the farmer had one of his own geese for his Christmas dinner ?
A happy looking post !


 Feeling exposed with a freezing numb face I arrived in Oldhamstocks where I spotted these two roe deer quite happy feeding away up the hill.
From the top clockwise...
...the life of a swede,
 before, during & after the sheep devour them. 


 Cycling along enjoying the views I passed by Lynsey the land owner giving her a smile & a wave I carried on into her fields along the nice little track between Stottencleugh & Aikengall & then...
...bloody coo's !
 So near to home & a fairly flat ride back to my house & I'm confronted by my enemy in front of me !
 The alternative was a big hill & a long way around by Cocklaw & Blackcastle farms by road. I thought in this cold freezing weather that I would be safe to come this way, but had a false sense of security when I cycled through Lynsey's farm & saw some cow's in the cattle sheds only for more of them to be right in my way.
Now Lynsey knows of my fear of cow's & I bet she had a right giggle to herself when I peddled by !!!


Only one thing for it & that was bike on the shoulders & a bit of hiking up hills safely out of their way cursing their presence !
 But it was worth the adrenalin rush for a bit of warmth.


Out of Stottencleugh land through a gate into Aikengall land & once again alarm bells started ringing in my head.
Freezing cold day with a hard frost hmmm... but this ground is not hard with frost, it's soft with hoof prints & fresh cow shit everywhere ! 
But no sign of cows, so I think that maybe they've been moved elsewhere but then I spot a trailer with cattle feed in it followed by a MOOOO !
I then spot them on the road that I need to go with no way around them, I cycled closer to towards them ready to hurl myself & bike over the fence as this was my only option to pass by them, but to my disbelief they started to run away from me & the dopey beasts were in such a panic that they all ran over a cattle grid to get away from me & they ran up towards the farm.
Fortunately the cattle grid was full of mud & debris that they never got their legs broken ! 




 Bombing by with the wind on my tail & out the corner of my eye I noticed this ice build up from the water of a field drain splashing water as it flows looking like ice crystals.
And after a very eventful afternoon the day took a turn for the worse as a thorn made it's way through my tyre into my inner tube, so a roadside fix & a mile or so from home I wasn't too bothered because I knew a hot mug of coffee would soon be in hand :-)

Thanks for stopping by
cheers for now.