Alternative John Muir Way - 23rd April 2012

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The Alternative John Muir Way continued its streak of near ideal weather yesterday.

The start was cloudy and chilly, but by the time we reached the Biarritz of the North after 2 hours, conditions were – Biarritzy. As the sag wagon parked, the ice cream van pulled alongside and runners and bikers drifted in from the Dirleton dunes.

At Yellowcraig we saw how a golf resort developer Caledonian Heritable Ltd. (http://www.archerfieldgolfclub.com/real-estate/ ) could destroy acres of sea-buckthorn in a SSSI, even with the local authority’s knowledge and lack of subsequent action. The developer had previously erected a hostile boundary fence designed to stop residents and golfers from, er, damaging the SSSI.

The beaches, cliffs and coves between North Berwick and Ravensheugh were bathed in sunshine with a cool NE breeze preventing overheating on the occasional strenuous scrambles up the slopes.

By the time we were breaching the defensive ditches around Tantallon Castle the 23-strong squad had spread over many diverse routes suited to foot or wheel.
It was so warm and sunny at Ravensheugh that Gio sought the cooler water and gently lapping waves for a swim. The rest of the bikes emerged from the van and we continued via Binning Wood to the East Linton lunch break at 37km.

full-distance runners were getting a bit droopy by then, their droopiness amplified by too much tea and over-eating.

The River Tyne was in spate from earlier heavy rain but had, at least, retreated into its banks as far as Hailes Castle. From there, we climbed Pencraig Hill for the old highway through the coconutty broom to Barnes Castle and the Garleton Hills.

A few cyclists opted for alternative tarmac, and the survivalist runners grimly pursued the off-roaders to the prime at Hopetoun Monument. As usual the rocky descent from the summit thwarted all attempts to stay on bikes. From Hopetoun the end game is fast and easy for bikers; not so for remaining runners Digby and Richard who were by now locked into their separate lone routes back to Aberlady Bay.


21 started and finished most or all of the 56km circuit. Many thanks to helpers Bärbel (lunch), Peter (driver), Tom and Philippa (van provision), all who contributed food and the girls who cleared up after lunch.
Keith Burns

...and a big thank you to whoever donated the thickly chocolate covered rice crispy cake that was quite irresistable. Hopefully the 3000 calories expended on the run burned it off!

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