Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Down To The Sea Road

18th February & finally a break in the weather, gone are the storm force winds & the unrelenting rain for now & a decent sunny cold day perfect day for a ride out on the bike. I had no planned route in mind & just rode where I felt like & making the decisions when they arrived left, right or straight ahead, up, down whatever.
So off I went heading west out of the village & up to the Woodhall road.




Although the sun was shining & the sky was blue the air was really cold but not for long once I'd got going. Still a patchy dusting of snow up in the hills.



Cautiously descending down the Brunt hill which was covered in ice from the water running off the surrounding hills & further down to the ford at the bottom which itself was overflowing over the road due to a big log & other debris washed downstream causing the under road pipe to become blocked up.




Climbing up out of the Brunt & once up at the cottages I decided to get off the road onto the farm track & go up to the top of Brunt hill which on a nice clear day like today will be good for long clear views. 



Not disappointed by the views which I could spend ages looking at I set off once more down the muddy track.



Down off the hill & once past the Doon it was back onto tarmacadam again. 




Down to near enough the coast now as I passed through my old stomping ground of West Barns where I grew up.
 A memorable part of my childhood growing up here was the picture above where my bike is parked up against the wall, back in the early 1980's my friends & I were all into our BMX's & came down here to dig out a quarter pipe from the mud & grassy banking (there was no wall back then & the lay of the land was a lot different) armed with spades, shovels & picks we set about digging out our quarter pipe, making good progress I was hacking at the ground with a spade when I hit something hard & noticed it's odd shape, picking it up & picking off the compacted mud from it I quickly recognised it's familiar pineapple shape, it turns out that what I'd whacked into with the spade was an old WWII hand grenade...which had no pin in it !
Being young & daft my friends & I tried our hardest to blow it up, holding on to it hitting it off a fence post, then placing it onto the said fence post & hitting it with our spades & shovels, throwing stones at it luckily to no avail. My mum & dad had friends round for a meal so me & my wisdom put the grenade into my pocket & cycled up to the house to show my dad who got the fright of his life ! He took it from me saying some choice words & gently placed it in the back garden then called the police who arrived at the house in no time at all, the police quickly agreeing it was a grenade then contacted the bomb disposal team who within around half an hour arrived at the house abandoning their motors in the middle of the street doors wide open & everything, blue lights flashing from the police escort, the village must of been wondering what the hell was going on as I always remember my dad saying that everyone from the village seems to be out for a walk tonight in their slippers !
So the bomb disposal squad made safe the grenade by placing it in some sort of box which if mind serves me correctly was filled with sand, I then had to take them down to where we'd found it, they scanned the ground & surrounding area & found other explosive devices I think another seven I can't quite remember.
They told us how lucky we had been not to be blown up & of been spread over the horse field next to us !
I was gutted as they also told me that if it wasn't dark that they would of taken me down to the beach for a controlled explosion which I would of been allowed to push the button to blow it up but as it was now dark that they couldn't do it just in case anyone was in the vicinity so they would have to take the grenade & the other seven explosives away with them...gutted to say the least but at least we got the story of our tale in the local newspaper :-)
Although now an immature grown up if I was to ever find another one I think I'd still try blowing it up only not holding onto it or hitting it with shovels heh heh!




From West Barns I followed the coastal path along to Belhaven then around the out skirts of the golf coarse, the reflecting blue sky brought out the bright fresh blue colour of the sea it looked almost summery.






Up the steps to follow the cliff top promenade & again the bright sun & blue sky brought out the redness on the sandstone rocks around the shore.



Another old iconic building that's due to be demolished sometime very soon as it's now in a state beyond repair.
Winterfield pavilion, created in the 1920's as a Pierrot stage for summer entertainment. One of the pictures above of the Zenith Entertainers (photographed in 1925) were one of several groups to appear at the pavilion in the 1920-30's. Despite their official name everybody knew them as the Pierrots.
The building was converted into a toilet & shower block in the 1960's to serve a static caravan park which has also long gone now & the pavilion has since been left to deteriorate to the point now of no return, a bit of a shame as it's an interesting looking building.


Looking over to the ruins of Dunbar castle & what was the outdoor swimming pool which was the largest outdoor pool in Scotland & other than some white paint on the rocks & some rusting pipe work on the rocky beach you would hardly even know it had been there.





The eye cave, doo rock & the castle ruins.





Down to Dunbar harbour with it's prominent feature of the castle ruins steeped in history & going by the artists impressions it must of been a formidable fortress back in the day.
This is where Dunbar gets it's name, from the Brythonic 'Dyn Barr' meaning the fort of the point



Dunbar boat the "Fisher Lassie" & I love the little picture of the women wearing the traditional costume of a long blue duffle jacket with wide sleeves, a blue petticoat usually tucked up so as to form a pocket & in order to show off their ample under petticoats of bright coloured woolen stripe reaching to the calf of the leg. The stripped upper petticoats were called 'drugget'. As the women carried loads of fish on their backs in creels supported by a broad leather belt resting forwards on the forehead, a thick napkin is the usual headdress with a broad frill edged with lace, a small shawl similar to that on the head encircle the neck & bosom, with thick worsted stockings & a pair of stout shoes complete the costume.






Some views looking over the harbour back wall.


Just like the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland & Finigal's Cave on the island of Staffa, Dunbar has it's own hexagonal columns of bassalt formed when molten rock of this type is cooled, very strange to see !


A sea angler deep in thought waiting for the rod tips to twitch.



Dunbar parish church, I remember vividly on the night of January 3rd 1987 a fire thought to of started in the church roof ravaged through the church leaving it to a sandstone shell. I remember standing watching it burn it was a very surreal sight to watch. The church was rebuilt over the next few years & looking at it now you would never even know that it had been destroyed.




Normally another hot spot for gypsies to take siege off, but just now we are clear of them, the council has taken measures to deter them from pitching up here by digging trenches on the road side as well as a mound of gravel crossing the road preventing them from getting under the bridge.
 It won't work though !

Along the cycle path then along to Whitesands & for once a buzzard sits nice for a picture, normally as soon as I get focussed they take flight. 




Along to the popular Whitesands beach which looks unusually untidy at the moment with all the seaweed washed up after the winter storms, we are very lucky to have beautiful clean sandy beaches along this stretch of coast.






Continuing along the coast to Barns Ness passing the light house & the sheep are doing a great job chomping through the rough coarse grass allowing smaller plants to flourish & thrive then onwards to Skateraw crossing over the Dryburn bridge.
Another haunt for the parasitic gypsy pack, is here along the old A1 trunk road now pretty much a dead end road & only leads to farmers fields & to the cement works quarry so here they seem to be left alone for a while before being moved on, which I think is unfair as they just wreck the area & leave the place in a mess with all the rubbish they leave behind & also deters people from cycling / walking along here while they are here.


A wee climb back up hill along the country roads & I was back home in the village refreshed & looking forward to a mug of coffee, something to eat, wash the bike, a bath & finally some chill time before night shift...oh the joys !

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 "Down To The Sea Road"

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