A phone call a few weeks ago from my friends John and Gail who asked if I would like a trip with them out to Gullane and Aberlady Bay. This was sheer coincidence as I was thinking of going there myself to fill in another part of the John Muir Way between Edinburgh and Dunbar. I agreed at once therefore and we set off on a weekend jaunt to Gullane, seen above.
Unlike many of the post industrial towns and villages that are found along this coastline Gullane is very well heeled and has been for a long time. No suggestion of heavy industry or ugly factory units here. It's a 'golden bubble' sort of place, full of wealthy individuals settling here for the lovely scenery, peace and quiet but close enough to Edinburgh (half an hour's drive by car) to still work in the city and earn good money to maintain this expensive lifestyle. Kilmacolm, on the west coast near Glasgow, could be its twin sister. I've always found these places fascinating, even as a child, a real life Disneyland with princesses, kings and queens holding court but having worked in maintenance for many years I know what it takes to upkeep properties and gardens of this size so it's not for me at all. A boat anchor. I've always been happy enough enjoying myself on a tight budget with little outlay or upkeep required and have never had the necessary personality, drive, ambition, brains, contacts or education to be a captain of industry and high achiever. But I do like to dip into these places in passing. Well, you would, wouldn't you? Who doesn't like a fairy tale?
Painful even to lean on jumping off this raised platform back onto the beach. A razor clam shell coated with the same type of barnacles.
Over ten years ago I explored this coastline by bike, cycling all the beaches at low tide and having great fun. Rather than hours of walking I found you could really fly along the hard packed sands at speed on a smooth tyre hybrid bike. Obviously, I steered clear of any bird life ahead in the distance and hardly made a mark on the ground. I discovered through trial and error that mountain bikes dig into the sand too much and are very slow, almost faster walking. I could get up real speed on a touring bike with smooth tyres here though given good sand conditions- almost like Bonneville salt plains car racing with a strong wind behind you tearing along close to the waves- yet I never spotted anyone else cycling across sand flats or beaches for years. The only one doing it, as usual, was me. The maverick unfashionable nutter. I have the posts on BSS to prove it from the early days. And raved about how good it was then!!!
So it was with something of a groan that I've noticed a new trend developing recently. Fat Bikes- mountain bikes with very thick tyres around five inches wide, presumably developed as all the popular mountain bike trails recently I've seen are completely trashed into muddy ruts and swamps, even in summer. Big tyres are the new off road trend seemingly and I noticed them again here. Compared to my hybrid touring bike however the speed they were doing across the sand flats was about a fifth of my own so I can't see them lasting, long term. Mind you I never thought anyone would be daft enough to pay for water in bottles, or choose to watch entire films and videos on a small hand held screen either so what do I know.
Guess I'm an accidental trendsetter in many different ways. AND I'M NOT HAPPY ABOUT IT!!! Contrary? Moi?
This link is worth watching. The Longest Road in the World which took three years to complete driving north the entire time. Eight minutes long but as enjoyable as any of the Top Gear challenges. You have to really admire this young person's optimism , his determination to see it through, his cheerful disposition and his style. A natural presenter and a skillful filmmaker. If you only watch one You Tube video posted on here make it this one. Epic, funny, inspirational, and extraordinary.