|Sea mist rolling in|
|Cycle Route 1|
I made for slightly higher ground further inland and I'm sure there would have been great views from here across to Holy Island and the Farne Islands if it hadn't been starting to rain. I stopped at a petrol station for hot chocolate and then followed the coastal route to Berwick-upon-Tweed. The rain increased and it turned much colder. The path grew narrower, and then became grassy and almost invisible. In the rain and mist and wind it was a nightmare, though I'm sure it's lovely in the sunshine. I was very glad when I found myself back on a metalled track and shortly afterwards I came into Berwick.
The campsite was on the edge of town and it was starting to get dark when I arrived, and raining hard. The warden was closing up, but he couldn't have been more helpful, even giving me his mobile phone number in case I had a stroke or heart attack in the night. I couldn't believe it when he told me that there was a bath available. He took me and showed me the enormous bathroom and enormous bath, all included in the (admittedly quite pricey) campsite fee. I put the tent up in the rain, had a bath, and then noticed that I had a puncture. I left it until the morning.
It was a very wet night, and in the morning the tent was as wet as it had been the whole trip. However, the excellent campsite had plenty of paper towels and they did most of the drying. I fixed the puncture, my third of the trip, this time made by a vicious thorn, and I set off into Berwick and across the Tweed into Scotland.
It began to rain as I crossed the bridge, then climbed out of the town, across the A1 and into hill country on narrow lanes where I didn't see a car for ten miles. I bypassed Eyemouth and went instead through Ayton, a fine old town with a castle, then climbed a big hill, almost moorland, and when I came over the other side the Firth of Forth was laid out below. The low rain clouds that had been steadily spreading over the coast all morning ended ahead of me, and I could see a different kind of weather in the west - cumulus clouds and sunshine.
|The Firth of Forth|
However, I couldn't quite outrun the weather. There was a wonderful descent to a little cove that was full of caravans, but had coffee too, at a place called Cockburnspath, and then it was up and down along paths and tracks and the course of the old A1 to Dunbar, where I had a very good lunch in the cafe next door to the birthplace of John Muir. I recommend both the cafe and the birthplace.
|Cafe and the birthplace of John Muir|
I decided to sleep on it, but in the morning I had made up my mind. I would go through the mountains.
Maps: to Berwick upon Tweed; to Musselburgh
- In Northumberland National Cycle Route 1 sometimes offers alternatives between a coastal path and one slightly inland. In fine weather the way along the coast would be beautiful and fun. In rain it is beautiful but you won't see much, and it is hard work.