Tuesday 27 March 2018

Even Further Along the Coast

Yesterday I completed my tour of the Lothian coast by visiting the town of Dunbar. It's a few years since I was here and it was good to return. The day started bright but frosty, luckily it warmed up a bit.

The focus of the town is its harbour and the ruined castle. Dunbar Castle was once considered the strongest fortress in the country and has a turbulent history having being destroyed and re-built several times. It's old. There's been a castle here since the 11th century. Strangely its strength was its downfall. In 1567 the Scottish Parliament ordered its destruction because it was feared that an enemy capturing the castle could endanger the whole country. 
The castle and the harbour. The building of which caused yet more damage to the ruin.

It's hard to imagine what the castle once looked like.
Maybe like this

The town & harbour

There is an active fishing industry here. Do Scots eat a lot of lobster? I think most of the catch will be exported.
At the other end of the harbour is a building that used to be battery for cannon. This was built in 1781 to defend the harbour. It's a little known part of our history (well, little known by me) that during the American War of Independence rebel ships operated out of France and attacked British ports.

In 1779 & 81 there were unsuccessful actions against the town that prompted the building of the defences. Both attacks were carried out by British captains acting for the Americans. The first of these being by Scotsman John Paul Jones, the "father of the US Navy". Although an American hero he seems to have been a dubious character and his actions may have been more in search of plunder rather than in support of the revolution. He went on to become the bass guitarist in Led Zeppelin, but that's another story.

The battery

A good vantage point to look out for pesky Yanks!
There is another American connection in the town. This is the birthplace of John Muir. He emigrated to the US as a child, became a naturalist and founded the National Parks. He was closely connected with Yosemite, in California.

The SV at the beach


Interesting rocks at shore

I came back by way of this narrow, winding road through the Lammermuir Hills.

You have to use your imagination but this is an ancient hill fort. "early Iron Age" so maybe 3,000 years old.

Tuesday 20 March 2018

Run to Dumfries

Our cold weather persists but it was sunny today so I got out for a favourite run of mine.

In Sanquhar this pond was still partially frozen

I was mobbed by these ducks who seem to have been under the mistaken belief I was going to feed them

Footbridge over the River Nith in Dumfries


Spring flowers in Dumfries



Phone boxes have become rare here now but this one has been converted into an emergency defibrillator point.

Solway Firth at Gretna

Annandale north of Moffat 

Thursday 8 March 2018

Serious Snow

So the snow melted, then it fell again, then it (mostly) melted again.

There were reports on the TV that a nearby area, the Carron Valley, had been badly affected. Some people had been cut off for a week and even the snow plough couldn't get through.

Today I tried to visit the affected area. It isn't remote being in the Campsie hills only 12 miles from the city centre. 
Warning signs, but the road looks ok

Deep snow where the road has been cleared

No way past!

Looking back

The road ahead

Friday 2 March 2018


Britain is currently enduring a period of freezing, snowy weather. This is due to cold winds from the east.

Here is an interesting satellite picture. It shows almost the entire country blanketed in snow.

It doesn't look like the bikes are going anywhere soon

The arctic wasteland that is my back garden