Thursday, May 30, 2013

A wee trip to Scotland–part 2

Friday 17th May 2013: So that’s settled, I must find the time for an East Coast cycle ride, the weather has pretty much always been wonderful on the East Coast of Scotland – when I’ve visited. Unlike my childhood memories of summer holidays with windswept rainy beach at Troon. The only snag is I will have to ensure it matches with something or other my wife is doing. Or perhaps she could come with me, but take the train between my stages.

We started of with more sight-seeing – my daughter was pretty much packed and ready, but at some stage we were going to use the car to distribute some stuff  for her and so our plan was to load the car at the end of the day. The trouble is that exams were running and so getting hold of people was tricky. So we drove around with stuff packed in the car on the off-chance and instead did a bit more sight-seeing – first to St Andrews and then to Crail, a bit further round the coast.  (Next time we will have to check out to the North of the Tay,

The good news was that I’d managed to find a Bottle Shop selling Thistly Cross cider. the one that will hopefully show in this picture – Luvians. Although at the time I went in to check I had my hands full and so didn’t buy any.

Luvians Bottle Shop – St Andrews (and Cupar)
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Although as it happens we were visiting a Morrisons later in the day and they also happened to sell Thistly Cross Cider and as I had a convenient basket and a convenient car outside I bought six bottles of the original and one of the ginger. Although as I was driving around I didn’t plan on tasting it until we got back to the Flatlands.

We did have a wander around St Andrews and sat in the sunshine eating ice-cream from Jannettas. I had Turkish delight and Rum and Raisin flavour in a chocolate cone – delicious out in the sunshine. Although I had to eat it quite quickly because it was melting in the sun. (That’s my excuse anyway.)

Janettas – St Andrews 


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We sat down a bit further up the road on a bench where I had to take a picture of some parked bicycles. I am not sure what the cycling culture is like here – I guess students do and tourists and pensioners don’t. Still good to see the cycle parking around and in use.

St Andrews – cycle parking

At the moment there seem to be programs on the television about the decay of the City Centres. Well as my wife mentioned to me after another moan about the plight, after dutifully taking her mother to several towns to go shopping during a visit of several days, all the shops are the same. (My wife is not a keen shopper!) They are all the same and with the rise of Internet shopping it easier to do the “boring” stuff on line and have it delivered. So it was rather nice to visit a place like St Andrews that certainly seemed busy and had loads of different shops. Like this Artisan Butchers – Minick.

Minick of St Andrews – Artisan Butchers

After lunch in St Andrews – with loads of choice, we went along around the coast to Crail. Which turned out to be a delightful place to visit – although we gave the Crail Raceway a miss. It centres around a small harbour although the Raceway also has nautical connections as it was a Second World War naval air base – HMS Jackdaw or RNAS Crail. As you can see in the pictures the weather was wonderful and we had a wander around the town. 

This is the Crail Parish Church in the Marketgate, although it is named as Holy Trinity Church on the OSM map. I think that the Holy Trinity Church is on Westgate. The walled churchyard is splendid.

Not far from the church was a lovely house up for sale – if you have a spare £560,000 – The Old House, 9 Marketgate.

Crail Parish Church

To the North of the church is a small wooded valley you can walk through – Denburn Wood. There are some playing fields just behind as well. Although this picture of the path  the playing fields seems to show up a bit of dust on the lens.

Bow Butts Road playing field (Crail)

Denburn wood is delightful and has a stream flowing through along a gulley. (Well that is what we called them in Somerset.)

The contract between the sunlight and the shade of the wood was so great that even with multiple exposures the bluebells,lit by shafts of sunlight, got bleached out in the picture.

Bluebells in Denburn Wood – Crail

We strolled on around the Coastal Path and around to the Harbour.  The view across the Firth of Forth was wonderful, although the blue of the sea and the blue of the skies almost seemed to merge. This is the Isle of May, to the north of the outer Forth. apparently there was a priory there during the Middle Ages. There is an automatic lighthouse on the isle.

Isle of May – a National Nature Reserve

The same picture with a little less zoom – it lies around 8Km of the mainland. There are boat trips on the May Princess out to the Island.

Isle of May – a National Nature Reserve

As you walk around the Castle Walk there is a helpful Information Board. This says the Isle of May is 5.5 miles away, it also points out Dunbar of the other side, 17.5 miles away. To the extreme right is Cockenzie Power Station. According to Wikipedia it is closed (March 2013), but there are plans to build a Combined Cycle Gas Turbine power station in its place.

For our journey home I ignored the advice of my SatNav and took the coast road to Edinburgh and then followed the A1 around the coast and down to the flatlands. The weather wasn’t quite so nice but it took us past the Power Station.

Firth of Forth information board – Crail

Here is a view of Crail Harbour. There was no sign of a castle (on castle walk) but according to Wikipedia there was once a royal castle above the harbour.

Crail Harbour

Lobster pots stacked in Crail Harbour

And again, but at a jaunty angle. The sky was pretty much blue.

Lobster pots stacked in Crail Harbour

Further up I was rabbiting on about how nowadays towns have become dominated by the same chains of shops – well not Crail. This is the local chemist – Crail Pharmacy. What attracted us was the  Pestle and Mortar which seems to be in a pharmacist’s style.

Crail Pharmacy

Afterward we managed to re-locate the stuff that wasn’t needed back in England and load up the stuff that was. Then the next day after a hearty breakfast we set of for the long trek back to the flatlands. Around Durham and Newcastle there were torrential rains and floods and incidents as a result. The A1 remained pretty go though and we made reasonable time.

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