My third day of this walking trip and I have concerns about finishing the walk that would end in North Berwick. Yesterday my feet and lower legs ached quite badly which required me to stop five times to temporary rest them. As this was a Sunday I stayed with my tactic of walking very early towards my destination and then using public transport to travel back to my car. So at 05:00 I drove from my B&B in Leith to Prestonpans railway station where I parked.
As I set off from the railway station in the dark with head torch on, I felt my feet and legs to be perfectly ok. Even though today’s walk would be considerably less than yesterday’s walk I knew at some point the achy feet would come back.
The next 6 or seven miles would be predominantly on the John Muir Way, which also follows alongside the B1348 and both stick very close to the shoreline of the Firth of Forth. As it was still dark, my photos were very thin on the ground. I’m afraid I don’t have the skill or patience to set up my camera to take night time shots – I’m still basically a point and click sort of guy.
I passed out of Prestonpans and past the site of the former Power Station of Cockenzie, demolished some 5 years ago. By the time I reached Seton Sands the dawn had begun to break and I was able to switch off my head torch. I could still see the lights of the towns and villages across the Firth in Fife, on a lovely still morning. After passing Longniddry the coastline began to turn northwards towards Aberlady. As I rounded Aberlady Bay I left the road behind and headed across Peffer Burn via a wooden footbridge onto a vast expanse of land called Gullane Links. The links contain a number of golf courses and surprisingly the ground rises quite high here. I headed for the high ground, which gave an impressive view across to Fife, westwards to Edinburgh and to North Berwick Law and the surrounding area of East Lothian.
I purposefully headed into Gullane, a place I last visited some 46 years ago and a place where someone very special to me lived together with her family. As I stood and paused at the end of the road where they once lived I felt very sad. Distant memories.
As I left Gullane behind me the feet started to complain again, not painful, just ‘achy’ like they normally do after 10 miles of walking. I decided to stay on the road the remaining 5 miles to North Berwick. Although there is an excellent bus service running every 30 minutes, on a Sunday, back to Prestonpans I decided on catching the train; well I had parked the car at the train station in Prestonpans. North Berwick rail station sits at the end of a small single-track branch line which is linked to the main East Coast line. It has just a single platform and a waiting room, fortunately, there is a small booth where I could buy a coffee. I sat outside in the bright sunshine waiting for the first train of the morning. By 3’o clock that afternoon I was back home in my garden in Shropshire. Time to recover my achy body and feet and to plan the, hopefully, two walking days that will get me to Berwick-upon-Tweed
NB: I also publish all my Scottish Blog entries on the excellent Scottish Hills website, I use the same narrative, but larger photos and a few extra ones. They can be found here:
Distance today = 15 miles
Total distance = 6,240 miles