Sunday, 16 August 2009

Belhaven Bay.East of Eden.

Alex had family commitments,or maybe he just didnt fancy walking into the howling gale
raging outside.Maybe he thought it would rain!
So. Me solo,but this is a good un today!
Watched weather.BBC girl promised sun by 10:00am out past Edinburgh way.I,ve always believed what girls tell me so off I headed to the lands east of eden with trusting heart in the rusting but faithful sunmobile.As a starting point I parked at Belhaven Bay.(See dots on map.)
This is my favourite beach in Scotland as good as anything in the far north.I,ve seen huge rollers here during storms that you could hear crashing on the sands over a mile away.Today it was very windy,close to a full on gale but the tide was going out so no big waves.It was perfect though for my brand new sport of sand cycling.Never seen anyone else doing this on my travels.I discovered this almost by accident a few years ago and was immediately hooked.Such great fun.Skimming along close to the waves on the hard packed sand with the retreating sea giving me bags of room to jump across dips and puddles.On a good beach like this one its as fast as racing on smooth tarmac.You can cover miles in a very short space of time.Today with the constant wind it was even more exciting as I had to lean into it at a tight angle to stay in the saddle.
I quickly cycled out to the Tyne mouth where that deep river pours into the sea.This area has some serious quicksand close to the riverbanks so I kept my distance this time.(who says an old dog cant learn!) Although windy it was sunny and just right.Not too cold or hot .I was able to spend the whole day in my ten year old vintage tee shirt.(its a legend kids! Heh oldies,(over 40) ever noticed how anything thats over ten years old is a legend nowadays to the young!)And it can act better than most hollywood actresses given a stiff wind.No more botox or tattoos please girls!They cant replace emotions. Not yet anyway.
The great thing about this beach,being vast, is that it rarely feels crowded yet there is always something interesting going on.Surfers,Beachcasters(big rod fishermen) Stunt kite fliers,model gliders.Today it was horseriders
and sand yachts.
It was while watching the horse riders that I picked my next target.Doon hill with what looked like a handy ramp line leading up left to the summit.
Note the dotted line. As I knew it was fun along the cliffs on a day like this I headed for the bridge that would lead me round the coastline clifftop path to Dunbar
Where I could follow minor yellow roads(os map 67) to Doon(running across the busy A1 with bike).As I,d done some cycling here before my intention was to go onto the even more minor white roads on the map.A real adventure as you never quite know what your getting with these.Anything from a good landrover track to a knee deep boulder laden muddy ditch.From a distance it looked as if it would be no trouble to find this easy ramp line but once I was underneath it this proved difficult as several abortive thrashings in near jungle testified.
Undaunted I decided to head along the bottom track instead towards more open but steeper ground up to the summit.At this point Alex would have said "No way Bob ,are you****** crazy!" but left to my own devices I discover things like sand cycling.He,s far too sensible and would probably say it would damage the bike.Ha!
Being a nutter of long standing I lashed the bike onto my back using elastic cords(which I carry for just such an occasion) and proceeded straight up the hill.It wasnt too bad,the rucksack weighed far more than the bike.Imagine carrying that lot up a 19 story block of flats and you get the picture.New york firemen do a lot more than that some days.No big deal really.I have a much harder time at work.
As everyone knows the secret is to go slow and steady.Unfortunately all the clegs in christendom lay in wait out the wind in the waist high bracken ahead.I made excellent time therefore spurred on by these flying******** piranha.Nature being fair I hope something equally nasty, big and vicious chows mightly down on their wee bodies and balls with equal vigor during the long hot summer nights!
On the top of Doon hill stood a trig.And on that trig stood me.Just thought youd like to see what you missed Alex, you not being up one for a while.Ha ha.
The surprise was not the view but a long lost settlement which was wrongly down on the map as a castle.Wandered over to this and studied the info board but you,ll have to go there yourself to see what it said.From here I walked bike over fields and fences to the next white road leading round Pinkerton hill to the house known as the Brunt.I was really enjoying this and it was about to get better.What a wonderous section this is.I could have cycled this but it just felt right to walk. It was not really a bike route as such and I didnt want to antagonise the local farmer shooting nearby.
I was glad I did this as I hit a 3 kilometer lucky streak where all the things that normally run away stayed put right up to within touching distance in some cases.
First it was a score of painted lady butterflies, exhausted, resting on the path out the wind.I could have touched these but didnt.If I was knackered I wouldnt fancy anyone taking a poke at my ribs.They have a hard enough life.Poor little buggers.
The wind at this point was so strong it was tearing small branches off the trees and I got hit on the head with a detached clump of spiky horse chestnuts which was pretty sore!
The sheep were acting out of character too coming up really close with intent stares as I passed then following on behind like a collective pet pooch.Weird stuff.
Next what I think were young partridge proceeded to come out the hedge and walk in two unhurried lines just in front of the bike.It was spooky.I felt like the pied piper!
In all my hill days I,ve never had a run like this.
Swallows came next ,dozens of them sheltering in a dip,taking turns to play on a gate like trained budgies in a show.They too let me get really close before they flew off.
The spell was broken when I opened said gate leading down to beautiful wild country and eventually the next yellow road where I finally returned to the saddle.
Soon great rollercoaster downhills followed past the village of Spott then Little Spott with another gem of the varied and interesting history of the area uncovered.

I arrived back at the car around 6.30 pm hardly out of breath.Not a lot of miles covered but a nice breezy adventure in the always entertaining lands east of Eden.Scotlands very own riviera.
A very special day that will live long in the memory.Roll on harvest time in this my cherished golden realm.Wheat, barley,poppies and sunflowers in the fields.Squash,pumpkins, christmas turkeys( over in fife. yes folks... polytunnel turkeys! Free range!Its only humans that are stupid enough to want to stay out of doors when its pouring with rain. Given a choice us sensible birds know better!) and watermelons bursting out from the polytunnels.Its real lush hereabouts. Another world from the damp drab west coast
Bring it on.I can hardly wait.

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