Sunday 20th November Light to fresh NW
Cold, icy and sunny
Feeling so much better than of late I go down to reception to pay for the night's stay at The Royal Mackintosh Hotel, Dunbar. Imagine how my improving mood is even further enhanced by the receptionist, Lesley, saying that the hotel would like to donate the cost of my stay to the charities I am supporting. £55 to be shared by Chaskawasi-Manu, the RSPB, Asthma UK and the WWT. I am so grateful for this wonderful gesture.
Cycling today will involve using the Sustrans cycle routes numbers 76 and 1. These will keep me off the busy A1. I can't believe that in 2010 I cycled from North Berwick to Newcastle along the A1and A19. Obviously I survived but I have no intention of tempting the fates again.
The cycle path, grassy or frozen mud, goes past a cement works and a nuclear power station, Torness. Across the dreaded road and along to a beautiful river valley with autumn colours on the large beech trees. I stop to photograph the scene and hear waxwings calling. Actually I am thrilled to hear them as I had thought my hearing must be going when on Fair Isle. A waxwing had flown over me by the gully Heligoland trap and I hadn't heard the call whilst other birders had.
In a few trees nearby I find the waxwings, over twenty of them but I cannot get a decent photograph of them as they are atop the trees in poor silhouetted light. I stop a car from driving past too quickly and spooking the birds. I explain to the driver why I had begged him to go slowly. A walker, Jonathan, asks what I am looking at and I lend him my binoculars to have a look. He is delighted and even gives a donation he is so thankful that I pointed out the superb birds to him.
The road takes a serious dip down to sea level and, after cycling through a ford, the push uphill lasts for miles. I reach the top. Looking back to the north I can see the nuclear power station with the immense Bass Rock behind it.
One day I must get a boat out to visit the famous gannet colony.
At last I can cycle again, passing large wind turbines before a downward stretch to Eyemouth. From here I have no choice, I have to cycle along the A1. This part of the road takes me to the border between Scotland and England.
Crossing the border line, I feel sorry to leave Scotland. Of the four countries that make up the United Kingdom, Scotland is the most beautiful and the people are so friendly and interesting.
Through Berwick Upon Tweed and onto the A1 once more, I eventually find tonight's bed and breakfast after missing it and having a two mile detour. A strenuous day due to the hills, nevertheless an enjoyable day due to the views and the people met.
38.21 miles 2349 feet elevation up 2326 down