Sunday, 15 December 2013

Gullane`s Sandy Single track...



Over the last few years more single track paths have appeared in the Bents at Gullane Beach. Bents is what the inland sand dunes are called which over time are stabilised by Marram and Bent grasses.
The increase in paths has been from management of the Sea Bucktorn that has rapidly spread along our coast...


Rewind to before WW2 and these dunes were clear of the Sea Buckthorn plant and the dunes were well trampled by visitors to the beach.  Note the beach huts!.  These pics may be post WW2 as some huts were put up again...





The Summer of 1940;
The summer of 1940 was a changing point in our coastline of east and southern Britain which would leave its mark to this very day.
Approx 150 beach huts were removed in 1939 as work started to defend our coastline for an expected eminent  invasion by Axis forces that had swept across Europe in 6 weeks and booted the British and retreating French out of Europe at Dunkirk. The coast was closed to the public for the next 6 years.

The Defences built would change some of our coast forever as flat beaches were covered with Anti Glider Poles and many areas were mined. Here is a map of Gullane...


The mines were removed in 1945- payed German POW`s from Gosford POW Camp did a lot of the work at Gullane. The poles remained for a few years, this picture of the beach reopened in 1945...


The next line of defence was lined with thousands of concrete blocks, barbed wire and Machine Gun Pill boxes...




All along the coast the Home Guard trained and waited for the invasion to come from the air and sea...
Iconic pics at North Berwick!, must have been great for the kids watching!...



Look how many people are on the golf course!, war was not stopping the great game!...



Gullane on film;
Film was shot of Polish woman troops training on the dunes at Gullane in 1943!. The film shows The dunes before the invasion of Sea Buckthorn...

POLISH WOMEN TROOPS



Link to British Pathe Archives


The Germans never came for their holidays that summer!,
A small group of young men, along with organised communications of radar and radio and Observers`s, and small cottage factories working around the clock would see victory of our skies clear over the summer of 1940...
Also not to mention two aircraft that for one would go on to become an icon of the Battle of Britain...
ace pic!...


After WW2 the concrete blocks mostly have remained around Gullane along with some bases of the Anti Glider poles. Monuments to dark days here on our coast...



Signatures by those who made them adorn some...



The odd complete Anti Glider pole appears out of moving sands at low tides...



Many have become buried in the dunes that build up, then the odd storm washes out the high tide line, then the process of the dune building in height with the wind starts again...


Many are disappearing along with other WW2 remains of defences under the en crouching Sea Buckthorn...



Despite all the Sea Buckthorn bushes behind the beach in the dunes there is still loads of sandy single track trails that cross like a spiders web here at Gullane. through the dunes to the west on the Reserve and the woods to the east. Soft in places, it is ideal and fun to ride here on a Fatbike...











A look on Google Earth shows just how many in an area of about 4 x1 miles,


West to East from the Reserve to the grass covered dunes at Archiefield...
                            












Free draining sandy loam soils make for mud free riding all year round,  no erosion damage from cycling anyway when on Fatbikes with their low impact foot print less than a human foot print. Here is indeed an ideal fatty environment!...

I usually ride loops around the bowl of trails between Gullane and the beach, dropping down the many short but fun twisty descents then climb back up to ride another. Got to keep an aye out for dog walkers and runners if out early, but often you can get the place nearly to yourself if out early...
Here is some film i shot early morning with the Go Pro camera around the bowl of trails after dropping down from Gullane Hill. All filmed on the chest mount-or `sports bra` as i call it!!, gives a virtual ride for the non cyclist...

Songs are in order;
`TEARS` by HEALTH
`No Time` by Rouge Wave
`Meat Step Lively` by Thee oh Sees
click on the cog icon to view in HD





There is one trail that has no stops from steep dunes and has been featured a few times on the blog, the `Baked Bean Trail`. It follows the fence around Muirfield Golf Course then drops into the woods, from where there are loads of options of trails to take...
Here it is on Google Earth...


Why is the trail named that?, quite obvious from half the year when the Sea Buckthorn bears its fruits...


Here is the trail from start to finish in the woods. I pre rode it in reverse to check no one was walking it first, still have to be careful as a few tracks meet it. Tyre treads left from the ride up make the film easier to follow, though riders in front are always more interesting to watch in a film. Watch out for the Tree Troll if down there!!!




Song is `Disco Science` (extended by myself)  by  Mirwais
click on the cog icon to view in HD




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