A day off timed right with October sunshine saw me head to East Lothian. I was dead chuffed with this route. It seemed to have everything. Forest, beach, hills, open farmland, cliffs, rocks, some road and some lovely wooded trails.
I parked at Binning Wood, a place where I’m sure I will return to, and headed west into a countryside estate track. One of those where you run past a lodge house and feel you’re entering someone’s private garden. Except there was a sign for a right of way, thanks to “Right to Roam” laws in Scotland these are open to all. The sun was still low, and I was surrounded by trees, the cool air hung close, a real sense of autumns arrival. The dew was thick and making my feet damp. Newbyth farm I think it was called, a nice connection to the John Muir Way which I’d ran once before during a race but in the opposite direction. Meeting the way I headed North toward North Berwick. I was impressed with the new paths they’ve made, just inside the hedge line from the farm tracks. I saw a sign which said “funded in part from the EU”, how embarrassing.
North Berwick Law stood proudly ahead, jutting out from the fields. It’s grassy and rocky top, perfectly round, showing up against the relatively flat landscape. A volcanic plug. I reached its base and headed directly up it. It was tough as it’s steep but the views at the top are worth it.
I sat here for a while, making sure I took it all in. Sometimes when running you forget to stop and take the views in. It was my day off, so I was gonna enjoy it. You could see for miles. Making out Corstorphine Hill where often I’ll stop and look at North Berwick Law from there.
Returning to the run I ran around the base of the Law, through a field with exmoor ponies, where I heard a pony fart for the first time ever. Quite impressive!
The route took me down the Glen toward the golf course and onto the sea front. The tide was out and Bass Rock loomed in the distance, the perspective of the near cliffs making it seem huge.
The cliff top run follows the edge of the golf course and down onto the beach. My plotted route on Komoot said there was a path but I chose to head down onto the rocks and make use of the low tide to get me around to the Sandy bay. The sound of the waves crashing was coming from the right as the rounded cliff projected the sound back to me from the other side louder than I could hear them from the left. I’ve always felt at home next to the sea, but knowing the dangers, the sound of the waves crashing on rocks made me speed up!
Beach running is great on hard sand and this is what greeted me. I could see on the headland the cafe Drift, housed in shipping containers, they look prettier than described. I decided I would stop for coffee and cake. With views over the sea and sat in the warm sun, it didn’t feel like October.
From here a bit of road running to get me to Auldhame, Tantallon castle to my left. Leaving the road to take you to Seacliffe, I chose to follow the track where the car park for the beach lies. This was a mistake as I went down hill to go back up. However, it was nice to know it was there, following my track on the watch I weaved through a network of estate tracks, private concrete roads. Lovely and quiet, I had the place to myself. I passed the ruined carcass of Seacliffe House, impressive, covered in ivy. I wanted to get close but the signs were telling me not to.
I’m heading south now and soon I start to realise I’d been there before during a Foxlake race at Harvest Moon Holidays. That day was wet and cold but today was warm. Epic in fact, I’ve done a lot of race running out here and the series is always in the winter so it was nice to be here in sun. I headed toward Binning Wood now where I started. Getting lost in the myriad of paths that form a star shape at its centre. I took a wrong path but carried on regardless. Eventually I stopped running and walked the rest, I wanted to experience the forest slowly, listening to the sounds and smelling the scent of the trees. The route was about 25kms and relatively flat except the Law. I’d recommend this route!
Link to the route on Komoot