Queensferry to Dunbar, via North Berwick

Day 65  Saturday 14 May: As you may know by now,  I’ve stopped talking about the weather. So there’ll be no mention of the fact that my anticipated respite, enjoying the sunny southern climes of an apparently bright, balmy Bristol became a wet week in the west country. Meanwhile, in my absence, Scotland basked. Record highs. 26°C on the Isle of Sky and pretty toasty in Edinburgh. Me, Bitter?  Yes please, another pint of Belhaven Best in its home town of Dunbar.  That’s where I am now,  after a glorious day of cycling back out of the Firth of Forth along the South shore, from Queensferry,  via North Berwick. Sunshine, light breeze and pretty flat. Legs refreshed after almost a week away from Fondo. No complaints, good to be back in Scotland for the last day and a half before crossing the border at the eastern end.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.  I haven’t finished with Scotland yet.  Edinburgh has had barely a mention. What a stunning city. My first visit. A huge thank you to Ken, a good old friend of brother Neil, now a good new friend of mine. So much of what I was seeing in his home city would have meant so much less without his great local knowledge along with his ability to relate a fascinating tale of many an infamous Edinburgh character. All greatly enhanced by a few wee dram chasers. Far too much to tell. I am definitely returning soon after this crazy whirlwind tour of 237 Lifeboat Stations. Not alone. This has to be shared with my nearest and dearest. No, not Fondo.  I really was thinking of Claire. I don’t think the aforementioned has quite recovered from being locked in a dark cupboard under a gigantic rail bridge for a whole week. No, not Claire. I mean ….. Oh,  never mind.

A few miles after leaving Queensferry,  I was joined by Olivier, a keen cyclist from Avignon, France. Now a resident of Edinburgh, he knows the routes through the City very well. I was very happy to accept his kind offer to lead the way through, thus allowing me another opportunity to enjoy the fine sights without stop-start route-finding. Thanks for going the extra miles Olivier,  I really enjoyed your company!

Today’s first stop was North Berwick. Third thanks of the day go to Mark, the S.Luca Icecream Man, for pointing out that the Lifeboat Station I was searching for was the big blue building right behind me and for the complementary and very welcome icecream. The best vanilla 99 cornet I’ve had since 1976. And I love the six-wheel Mini Moke van. The fourth thank you goes to the lovely Doreen Dick, RNLI Shop Volunteer, for being there and representing the Lifeboat crew on this busy Saturday.  My chart would be incomplete without your treasured autograph. You are a local hero.

On to Dunbar and its A&ILB Station. Two hundred and eight years of saving lives at sea. “..In 1807, a succession of wrecks along this coast so aroused local feeling that a boat was provided with the specific purpose of saving lives. … Thus it was that,  in 1808,  six years before the establishment of the Royal National Lifeboat Institute,  Dunbar was one of the very first towns to embrace the dangerous task of saving lives of those in peril on the sea. ”   Also worthy of comment, at the foot of a list of dedications from the President of the RNLI in the same 2008 RNLI publication:   ” And to the people of Dunbar and East Lothian whose unparalleled support of the Lifeboat has continued undiminished during these 200 years,  there is not a more generous community in this country” 

The Dunbar generosity continues.  Thanks for everything Gipper (FT Mech), Ron,  Gordon and Davie.

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