The transition from the long days of summer to the abbreviated days of autumn (and winter) is always a tough one, right? I miss our evening walks more than I can explain. They were the grounding part of my day, and also the uplifting part. Our time to get outside, to drive down the coast and walk below big skies. To watch the lads run and sniff. To exhale out the day and those tight hours spent at a desk. To let our eyes soak in wide vistas after too many hours at a screen.
Do you have certain scenes that you never get tired of photographing? I have a few, the view over Hedderwick Sands (at John Muir Country Park, as in my previous post) being the most obvious, but also every view of Fidra. I started sharing Fidra photos using the tag #TheFidraSeries earlier this year on Instagram, but have many, many more shots – photos I always mean to post but then pause, wondering if people might be bored of the same vista.
But to me this view is never quite the same. The shifting tides, the changing seasons and light – it always feels different. It’s a place that I’ll keep returning to again and again.
I could smell the scorched earth and wood before I saw it. We were walking at John Muir Country Park a few weekends back, on a warm Sunday, and we’d decided to take the reverse route to our usual loop, walking along the side of the woodland that faces onto the salt marshes. I’d paused to take a video of a view through the trees on the edge of the woodland as the sunlight was catching the grasses in the breeze, and as I moved closer I thought, what is that smell? I knew what it was, but why… why could I smell burning?
We had two fundraising walks in August, both for an amazing charity called DMT Dachshund Rescue & Support Group, and this coastal walk was the first of those. For anyone who’s been following this blog for a while, it’s a familiar route, starting at Gullane and heading in the direction of Eyebroughy, and we’d intended to do the whole 9km of the #Wagathon #9KforK9s challenge in this one walk. The light ran away from us though. It’s that funny thing that happens in August when you’re used to darkness falling around 10pm, and your body clock is still in midsummer time, only suddenly the light is fading an hour earlier.
Sometimes I feel as if my weather app is having a wee chuckle. Saturday’s forecast was for a ‘light breeze’, and given how warm and humid it’s been of late, the idea of a breezy coastal walk sounded pretty blissful when we arrived at Gullane. But the BBC weather app’s idea of breezy and mine are two different things: it was blowing a hoolie (translation: very, very windy) as we walked along the dunes, noting the kitesurfers flying across the water ahead of us as a sign of the wind conditions to come.
It looked like rain when we parked at Gullane, the clouds heavy and brooding out over the Forth, and the forecast was for thunder. We really didn’t want to risk that when out with the lads, particularly Bracken, but the rain looked like it was far enough away to chance it. We’d planned to walk east along the coast, towards Eyebroughy, on our usual weekend route, but by the time we’d crossed the dunes the first drops of rain were falling. And little wonder as we stood on the edge of the dunes, looking at the clouds stretching across the water. You could feel it in the air: the weight of the rain above us, and I ran down onto the beach to take a few photos before the heavens opened.