Monday, 18 April 2011

April sun...Berwickshire Coastline...

Another weekend of warm weather,a bonus for cycling,
After a long time pondering over it and some saved spare money i bought a Go Pro Hero 1080 HD sports camera, since these cams were released they really have moved the goal posts on film quality, TV quality in fact, i bought some extra mounts, and on Saturday tried it out on the chest mount riding sandy trails around Gullane on the Pugsley...




Good job its waterproof as i was sweating buckets, last week i was overdressed with a winter soft shell jacket, Saturday a merino long sleeve and T shirt were too warm out of the wind!


I cant upload and edit the film i shot until i get the HD editing software i ordered,
but i`m looking forward to improved editing and picture quality,
The Tachyon camera`s have been good and reliable and I'm selling one cheap to a friend and keeping one as a 2nd camera/stunt camera -:),

Sundays forecast was to be warm so time for the first Epic day ride of the year...
Our county of East Lothian is as often referred to as `The Garden of Scotland`
And if so then our Neighbouring county Berwickshire to the east must be `the hidden gem`...
The A1 London to Edinburgh east coast road cuts right through the county but many who zoom by will be unaware of its scenic countryside,coastline and history,from castles and ruins to WW2 artifacts and less known Cold War sites,bunkers and buildings,

I wasn`t going to post anything on Berwickshire as it is for me a kind of last resort...somewhere you go out for the day and seldom meet anyone...
There are lots of trails and ancient old routes, i reckon there is about 3 times as many trails in Berwickshire compared to East Lothian, my old OS Landranger map is criss crossed with pink highlighter,and these are just the old roads and Rights of Way, i`m keeping the where abouts of most of the trails to myself but happy to post some film and pics to share,
Just over the County Border is Cove which i have posted before on here with its lovely Harbour,

Parking here early i headed east for the coastline in the background...


From Pease Bay its a short steep climb up onto the road over Coldingham Moor where a long climb of over a mile soon has you warmed up!...


A narrow road leads to Dowlaw Farm, past an old lookout post from WW2...


Good views for those that were on lookout!...


You can see the change in coastal scenery here as to the west the low white beaches of East Lothian give way to the highest cliffs on Eastern Scotland...


A path from here leads to quite an amazing castle ruin...Fast Castle...




As the sign says, steep cliffs ahead!...


Don`t look down here, about 300 feet drop...


Accessed by a 3 foot wide path with near vertical cliffs either side its quite intimidating to walk out onto...


It is unknown exactly who built the cliff top castle but it is believed to have been inhabited by wreckers, who would using lanterns at night fool ships into thinking it was a harbour of safe haven in stormy sea`s only to have there ships smashed on the rocks then looted by the robbers...




With no hand rails around the ruins you feel a little bit exposed to the drop of several hundred feet to the sea below...






Who in there right mind would ride a bike down there?... -:)



Onwards and er.. upwards but i only retraced back up so far before shouldering the bike up a steep grass field to cut across inland to get onto an old ancient track...


The old track now a grassy way was once a road to Lumsdaine...


Beside the track is an old decaying thresher- the pre runner to todays combine harvester...did you know it was invented in East Lothian? by Andrew Meikle (1719-1811) from Houston Mill, near Dunbar...
This one has lost its manufacture plate which would have gave its age...




A modern bridge twins the original arch stone bridge...


And we join part of the Berwickshire Coastal path here...


Spring Lambs...


Along the cliff top trail and stunning scenery...






The coastline along here from Cove has work by a local artist...and i don`t know who!...


On the map is shown a measured mile, here is one of the markers, i imagine it was once used for shipping...


Ahead is the highest point of the cliffs. Heathery Carr, believed to be named as Sea Eagles once nested there...


Down to below the cliff and above a waterfall i sat and ate lunch,
you dont get views like this in a cafe...






Nearby was an Orchid...


On my hands and knees i crawled to the cliff edge and stuck my arms out over the edge for a pic...despite being under a huge cliff face it was a long way down from here...


Surrounded by thousands of Kittiwakes nesting, April is the best month to see bird life here as they nest on the cliffs, i could have sat here for hours...



It was a hard climb carrying the bike up the path and over Heathery Carr in the midday heat, better than rain and cloud though... up top was good views...






And now mostly a downhill run with a few gates to St Abbs Nature Reserve...






At st Abbs Head it was great looking back west along the coastline i had travelled...been hard going in the heat and i was out of water now...


Using the zoom lense i could see Wheat Stack, the sea stack near Fast Castle from where we came...


Along the coast you can see where the rock has been put under pressure from volcanic activity and lines run each way and in wave patterns...




Up on top is St Abbs Lighthouse, the original prism glass is still intact that once shone the light 20 miles out to sea, i see the light on dark winter mornings from Whitekirk Hill, i`m a bit closer today...below is the fog horn...the first to be powered by diesel engine produced air power...


Below the cliffs and rocks are packed with sea birds...





It was real busy up here today with visitors, unsuprising with the weather so i left the coastal trail and bombed down the road as was out of water and needed a refill fast so i headed into the village of St Abbs, where a friendly resident in there garden happily filled my bottles, you just have to ask and give a big smile!,
half an hour off the bike in the shade with an ice cream sitting above the harbour...


Was a very hard 5 miles in the heat and concentration was needed along exposed cliffs, wouldn`t fancy riding there if the ground was wet near those edges...
i did some helmet camera filming as i went along with views on the compact,
here is some film of an amazing bit of coastline...
good to feel a bit fear at times when you let go of the brakes and take off!...
Out to sea i could see for miles and miles and miles...



Refreshed and time to head for some woodland trails, this here is the Creel road leaving Coldingham...


And there are a lot of old unmaintained roads with these signs all around Berwickshire...




And Beech tree and Hawthorn hedged old throughfare trails...




A taster of some of the trails just around Coldingham...



With it being lambing season i did not go to photo some places riding home by crossing farmland that i hoped to visit but can revisit later this summer...
There is of course Drone Hill on Coldingham Moor,now a caravan park/campsite which was part of the Chain Radar Early Warning during WW2...


Then less known is this place, Crosslaw,


Now a private (extended) bungalow is was during the cold war `RAF Crosslaw` the bungalow wasnt a house but a gaurd room, below is a RSG (Regional Seat Goverment) Nucleur Bunker, see the big rotor dish behind...


I respect the private drive of the folks house...but will go a wander nearby in the future... as there is a ROC monitering bunker nearby too... lots to visit...

heading back to the car and the last trail, an estimated 50 miles today with all the road work..knackered, slight sun burn (in April) and very happy -:)

8 comments:

  1. What a great photo diary! Thanks for taking us on that ride! It was a blast.

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  2. Great post CK. Strange you were almost passing the front door here when at Cove and we were out on Sunday - at St Abbs!

    Fast Castle is one of my favourites, although I haven't been for quite a while. Looks like even more of it has tumbled down those cliffs. The castle rock lets you sit so close to the nesting birds on the face opposite and yet they know they are safe with a couple of hundred feet of a drop between you. Pure magic!

    First mention of the castle is in the late 1200's or early 1300's and due to its position it changed hands frequently until abandoned in the late 1500's. And there is of course the local legend of treasure hidden for centuries beneath the castle. Yet another of those knights Templar myths I think.

    If you fancy looking for it sometime - you're on your own!

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  3. and those windblown trees at about 50 secs in the middle film shows how windy it can be here so often.......

    Great second piece on the soundtrack too - who is that???

    Lovely lyrical end to the film with the bird calls beneath the piano track.

    Great work CK.

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  4. One of the best rides i have done along that coastline, amazing scenery, the 2nd song of 2nd film is one of my favourite songs by Ludovico Einaudi, titled `Indaco`...

    epic tune for an epic day -:)

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  5. Stunning. Again. Just Stunning. Again. :)

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  6. Hi, I'm Sarah :)

    I love your blog! Come pay a visit to mine? I'm following you ;o)

    x

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  7. Wow! Course along cliffs looks like BBT - Big Baikal Trail!

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  8. Crosslaw bunker, inside: http://s264.photobucket.com/albums/ii180/x91w/Crosslaw_2006/

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