Monday, 21 February 2011

John Muir Country Park

John Muir Country Park is one of my favourite parts of East Lothian's coast line. It's a great place to go for a run or a walk. My dog Harvey loves running through the woods and along the sand flats. It is a place of huge contrasts. When the tide is high the place transforms for the expanse of sand and mudflats into an exciting water world. The full moon has given some very high and low tides over the last few days and the contrast between them is remarkable. The high tides and wind bring with them a fair degree of coastal erosion. About a year and a half ago, I painted a view of the coastal edge of the park. It has Trappain Law in the background. I walked along the same bit of coast a couple of weeks ago and you can hardly recognise the area, so many trees have toppled over. I could tell it was the same place below because I found the tree trunk shown in  the painting.
The object of the walk that day was to paint another picture further along the edge of  the park. I went armed with all my gear and sat next to a burn near a wee bridge which connects to a headland. It is not visible in the painting but there is a funky bench to sit on and look at the scene. I'm planning to go back again and do another view from in front of the headland with the bench in full view. It was a freezing day when I did this painting and it also started to rain. Some of the effects on the watercolour are due to mother nature!
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Monday, 14 February 2011

The Audax Tour of East Lothian

This wonderful event is organised by Musselburgh cycling club. Now, you might think that cycling 105 or is it 106 kms in Scotland in February is a bit silly, but even so there were a lot of people at the starting line, yesterday from 10 am onwards. This is the third year I have ridden this route. The first time was on a multi-terrain bike and I swore never to use that again on a long ride of this sort. Last year I used my road cum tourer bike and found out on the hill down to Garvald that my brakes weren't really up to the job. This year I decided to use my road bike, even if the tyres were not all that good for ify road surfaces. This time the valve on my back tyre went before the event started, so I got a new tube in and off I went. It started to get a bit windy and rainy as we got to Pencaitland and Gifford, but the real wind and rain was reserved for Redstane Rigg. The hill down to Garvald was exhilarating even without my rain splattered, steamed up glasses. As ever I was very relieved to arrive at the cafe in Dunbar and take  in some much needed food and drink. The route back to Haddington and Musselburgh seemed to go by quite quickly this year, it was a matter of grinding it out. Well done to the organisers and everyone who took part.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Cycling, cross country and a Dragonfly

It will be nice when it's warm enough for Dragonfly's to perform their dainty dance again. At least we are moving in the right direction, it has been a mild week end here in Scotland. I made the most of it by going out on a huge bike ride over the Lammermuir hills. I went through some places I hadn't heard of before. At one point my pal Frank and I were up higher than the wind turbines!! Today, I took part in the Borders cross country race at Norham and I would guess that it was the muddiest, wetest race I've been in. The organisers made sure that we got properly wet by routing us through a burn (stream) nine, yes nine times, so now I'm feeling tired but happy.
The Dragonfly was done about a year and a half ago and has spent most of it's life on the wall of the art room at Tynepark. The funny thing is it went missing for a couple of weeks and then returned to the same place. Maybe he was visiting relatives.

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