Monday 4 March 2013

Walk This (John Muir) Way





I’ve mentioned before how fond I am of East Lothian. I love the Big Skies, the red-tiled houses, and the devil worshipping. Today it was to be North Berwick to Aberlady on The John Muir Way.



North Berwick was a holiday destination for East Central Scotland families before Spain and Florida were invented. I well remember the open-air, sea-water swimming pool – “character forming”, in the testicle shrinking sense of the phraseJohn Muir, I think, made his money from some kind of theme park near Dunbar and from charging people to “watch” their cars while they climb Schiehallion. He then went to America and lectured them on The Environment – sort of like Donald Trump in reverse (Note to self- check this bit with Wiki before publication). He never actually walked this Way, and so did not need the talcum powder.Readers without a grounding in Marxism will be completely lost at this point.

As I was, leaving North Berwick via some golf courses and some really enormous fancy hooses. However the Way is extremely well waymarked, which is just as well as some of the route is a bit counter intuitive. It was a typical North Sea coast day, bit of a haar, snell breeze, and a watery sun trying hard to break through.








From Yellowcraig, you could only just make out the lighthouse on Fidra.

Yellowcraig is a special place.40 years ago, the future Mrs. O.M and I sat on the grass and shared lunch and a smoke with the countryside ranger.Now in those days, rangers were not fresh faced young girls with degrees in environmental studies and £2,000 bicycles.They were retired or redundant countrymen – herds, keepers and foresters. This guy was a Willie Nelson lookalike with a thousand mile stare. As we talked, he whittled a stick with one of these old black army knives with the marlin spike.As we left he handed the stick to her with the simple words “Fertility Symbol”

So did it work ?


And 10/12 years later we used to bring them all here on Sundays for picnics and games.



The village green at Dirleton



The old Duke’s grass airstrip at Archerfield.






Aberlady Bay nature reserve












The Loupin’-On Stone. Rescued from Clarissa Dickson-Wright’s boudoir

So, what’s the verdict ?

It’s well waymarked and well maintained, but , for me, there was a bit too much tarmac and road-walking. Certainly when compared with the previous section I did from East Linton to North Berwick.And it seems to lack coherence – it’s not an old pack road or drove road or anything.

I think I’ll try the section from Torness to East Linton and then mark it as “done”



So, what passed for music 40 years ago ?


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