A simple thing

There hasn't been much outside time lately.  The odd half day here and there, but nothing to write about.  Other things happened, but a break was needed.  Something simple providing maximum enjoyment and minimum effort. 

There's a place on the coast I've got to know, just beyond where the dog walkers turn around, and the shore is angled to scoop up the lion's share of driftwood from the Forth.  That's where we went.

No planning, no food dehydration, no stove, no specialist kit.  We bought a tent but could easily have made do with blankets.  The walk in was 45minutes.  Our bags were heavy with 6 litres of water and 2 kilos of fresh salad, salmon, corn and potatoes for the fire. 

It was all about the fire.  We took cotton wool infused with Vaseline and found dead marram grass on the way for firestarter.  We brewed lots of tea and burnt sand onto the cooking pot.  Fire, food, the outgoing tide, and hunting bats.  And the summer.  Time out from complex.  Simple pleasures, now remembered.

Two days

As the weather charged in over the Forth bringing new snow, I went back to Aberlady two days in a row.  I finally found the eroded carcasses of the midget sub wrecks at low tide, like dead whales with metal ribs on show.  I try to imagine being a sailor in one of these, but I can't.  They look impossibly claustrophobic.

I'm getting to know it here now, but it takes time.  There's still more to do, I doubt it would ever be done.

Going coastal

I'm trying to take some pictures in the Borders at the moment.  It's for a longer term project that hopefully will see the light of day later in the year.  Sunday's effort saw a later than planned drive to the source of the Tweed, only to be met with 15m visibility and a hasty retreat.

Plan B was exploring the East Lothian coast a little more.  Bizarrely warm, back in trainers and down to the new merino wool hoody I got for christmas (at 260gsm and no venting at the neck, it was too hot).  From Gullane along to North Berwick.  The best stretch is still the Aberlady and Gullane end for my money, all private nooks in rolling dunes and mellow shades of greens, browns, greys and blues. I don't mind the company of Sunday strollers, but traffic noise always kills my buzz, and did so even before I got near enough to North Berwick for the golf courses to take over from the Machair.  You have to draw the line somewhere.

I camped at 'The Leithies' (how could I not?) on flat sandy grass near the sea, danced a silly dance in the dark to some acid rock on the headphones, ate possibly the worst pasta concoction I have ever thrown into a ziplock, and took a few shots like the one above on timer.  Not in that order.  In the morning I found a new friend, who had fallen asleep overnight.

I've been taking photos of, well, dead things I find on walks for several years now.  If you see some hipster next year with an exhibition full of shocking exploitation pictures, you read it here first.  I spent 15 minutes or so with this Eider duck, who seemed to be just resting.  Hopefully the last thing this is, is exploitative.  People might find it morbid or grisly, but to me it seems like the least I can do - mark the passing of a beautiful animal.  Someone should notice they've gone, surely?  I will put all the images together side by side one day.  Dust to dust.

The walk back to Gullane over the volcanic core of Berwick Law was pretty disappointing.  The hill that completely dominates the local landscape in the first shot was slippery with mud and felt strangely ominous on the eastern walk up, past a unmarked domed municipal building, straight lines and barbed wire next to saplings planted on an 'ancient monument' by BT.  Complete with a replica whale jaw bone on the summit, and the Beech trees shown below planted to commemorate the Union between Scotland and England the atmosphere was eerie, I felt like I was trespassing.  Whose Law is it?  It also rained, rather alot.

A very soggy and unimaginative trudge through backstreets and farmland makes up this leg of the John Muir Way.  A missed opportunity considering they could have directed walkers a hundred metres north, along the coast instead of down Gullane high street.  But I didn't mind that much, it's good to do different types of walking, and although navigation was simple and mostly well signposted, it was interesting to busk a route without a map, and because I'd forgotten my wallet, to walk through villages without any money.