Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Fields & Sands Of Gold

A bit of a delay posting this blog I cycled at the tail end of last week with one thing or another...days out with the bairns on their last week of the school holidays, work etc.
With my only day off this week after probably the sunniest & best day of the year so far yesterday only for today's forecast to be heavy rain all day long which puts paid for a run out on the bike today then !
But on the plus side it gives me time to finish this post :-/ 
So with nowhere in particular in mind to go I set off from my home base & just took whatever road, track or trail I fancied at the time.

The first decision was to pop down to the pond at Thurston Manor holiday park located just outside my home village of Innerwick,
it's been a wee while since I've been down here to look at the pond which my friends & I used to fish all the time for stocked rainbow trout, but the ambience of the place changed when the caravan park extended & built loads of chalets down here.
 The glen when we fished it was full of wildlife to be seen while quietly casting a fly into the water, from deer feeding on the long grass at the margins of the trees, woodpeckers hammering away on the dead wood, buzzards soaring above, rooks cawing from the canopy of the trees in their rookery, foxes sneaking through the long grass hoping to catch a pheasant or rabbit.
 But all of a sudden the wild natural tranquillity has gone & replaced with neat little twisty tar-mac roads & chalets in every space available pushing the wildlife out.

The curse of fly fishing next to trees when back casting.

Although I don't fully agree that this wilderness should of been transformed into a small biscuit tin town, it is a well kept & tidy place & to an extent nature is still thriving, more so along the edge of the Dry burn where the wild plants are flourishing at this time of the year.

Soon the little weaving road ends & the wilderness begins into the long grass which made for a difficult ride.

Then after a few hundred yards of traipsing through the thick long grass I climb over a style into the land belonging to the Brunt.
The grass here had been cut down which made me think that there was no livestock in the field & I would have a clear run through to the road at the end, but spotting lots of freshly discharged cow pats here & there I soon realised that I was in the realm of my nemesis the cow !
 Thinking what to do for a moment, I didn't want to keep going because there was nowhere for me to get away from them if they decided to show an interest in me which they normally do & they could quite easily outrun me along here. I didn't want to turn back either so I opted to carry the bike over the shoulders up the hill following a pheasant beaters track.

Up the beaters track I went, only to find that it disappeared into the thick vegetation, so I had to battle my way through thistles, nettles & many other stinging or itchy plants in shorts suffering swarms of insects as I disturbed them.
I hate being terrified of coo's, they cause me all sorts of grief !

Soon I was clear of the scrub & out onto the track skirting up & around the Brunt Hill, but before going any further I had to take my boots off & shake them out as they were full of seeds & other jaggy plant parts while I was clambering up the hill...
...boots cleared, seeds picked out of the weave of my socks & with stinging legs I set off on my way again.

Arriving at the top of Brunt Hill which is one of my favourite spots around here as the views are amazing, looking out to sea, along the flat coastal lowlands & along the foothills of the Lammermuir Hills.
The old volcanic plug that is the Bass Rock, a maximum zoom picture & you can just make out the gannets flying around it. The Bass is host to more than 150,000 gannets & is the largest single rock gannetry in the world.
The Pentland hills far in the distance on the outskirts of Edinburgh, on the left is the Pentland ridge which I cycled a few weeks ago.
Traprain Law with Arthur's Seat behind to the left situated in Hollyrood Park in Edinburgh.
North Berwick Law & behind across the Firth of Forth are the Lomond Hills often referred as the Paps of Fife.
Out in the middle of the Forth is the Isle of May.

Legs still stinging I took off down the farm track.

A bit off off road track & a small ride along a quiet country road I turned off & entered the grounds of Biel estate.
 Some nice colours at this time of the season with the fields almost ripe with golden crops & the trees thick with green leaves, the sun is even shining on the North Berwick Law.

Down a tree lined road which after the crossroads gives way to a tractor track which itself was not so long ago a road but has been reclaimed by nature, then finally onto a single track trail which ultimately ends at an underpass going under the A1 dual carriageway.

Up & over the railway with both the old A1 trunk road to the left & the new A1 dual carriageway to the right hidden by the bushes.

As I near the coast I cycled by a bean field, stopping to pick a few for a wee treat for my chickens...which they loved ! 

Down on the coast now & the anti tank blocks left over from WWII are almost hidden from view with the ferns & other wild plants.
I have a geocache stashed down here which has gone quiet for a while with no visits, now I know why...too hard battling through the thick vegetation.

Sand Martins nesting in the hard sand embankments & there was loads of washed up jellyfish along the shore front. 
Another remnant from WWII are the stumps of the anti aircraft / glider poles on the beach, amazing even after 70 years that they have survived being submerged by the sea twice daily !
What I call the going, going, gone trees which have in turn slipped down due to erosion, even the tree on the left with no soil what so ever around it's roots has a thin canopy of leaves, amazing how nature works !

Crossing over the Hedderwick burn I wondered whether to go into the woods of John Muir Country Park or head out into Hedderwick Sands.

Choosing to go out over Hedderwick Sands to Spike Island, staying to the right side of the temporary fence to give the ground nesting terns a chance to nest in peace only to find a complete disrespectful muppet fishing in the 'small' area cordoned off for the birds !
Unbelievable !!
There are signs on EVERY single post in the sand requesting people to stay out, but there's always one clown !
He has an open beach of about 2 miles to fish & he has to fish the last hundred yards or so where the birds are nesting ?
All the big fish must be there eh ?

It was a nice daunder along the beach carrying the bike on the soft sand & cycling the hard sand watching the gannets diving into the sea catching fish.

Knowing the tide was too far in to continue along the beach to Belhaven I crossed the salt marsh path to follow the John Muir Way route.

This is the reason I crossed the salt marsh as I knew the Bridge to Nowhere would be stranded by the tide.

Avoiding going through the town of Dunbar I followed a footpath alongside the A1 only for my way to be blocked by yet more gypsy travellers taking siege in the area !
 With there caravans & vans parked on both sides of the old disused road & a few of them sitting about between them with dogs mooching about I took it into my head to about turn & take a longer detour to avoid them. They have been very hostile & the last thing I want is to have my bike stolen & beaten up or chased & attacked by their feral dogs !
Anyway after a detour to avoid them I followed the sustrans national cycle route 76 where I stumbled across a stoat hunting along the fence line.

Passing by my work glad I'm looking in rather than out on this warm sunny day.

Continuing along route 76 next to the east coast main rail line, this is the route I use to cycle to work.

Leaving the national cycle network route 76 to veer off under the railway onto the old dryburn road which will take me to the A1 & now home is in sight.

Last wee hill of the day up into Innerwick & I was glad to get home & into the bath after my adventure through the wilds avoiding cow confrontation & paying the price with stings & itchy seeds everywhere, However it was still a most enjoyable day to be out pedalling.
Thanks for sharing the ride with me, until the next time cheers the now.