With the zones down in Aberlady Bay still sitting at neutral after the recent Round reset, and with the tow bar now successfully fitted to the car, I just couldn’t resist taking the Surly Pugsley fat bike down for an evening turfing on the beach. With low tide around 10.30 pm and sunset around 7.00 pm, it was ideal and hopefully I’d also be able to get some good photographs for the blog. The falling tide should just be uncovering the two midget submarine wrecks out in the bay at about the same time the sun sets in the west. After that I intended to loop round Aberlady picking up zones and back along the Kilspindie golf course.
You can park at the entrance to the nature reserve but it can be quite congested and with no street lighting there’s always a risk of getting the car damaged. I prefer to park in Aberlady, at Aberlady Green, and ride along the cycle path to the reserve. No parking charges is a bonus, not that I mind really, it’s only a few quid. I deliberately set out to travel lightweight his evening, to keep weight down. I wore a pair of shorts, t-shirt and my trusty Karrimor Ithaca walking sandals. Inside the bike was tool kit, mini pump and a spare inner tube, water bottle and camera, and that was about it.
First zone was AberladyBay, situated on the timber footbridge leading into the reserve. It’s an interesting cycle, the footbridge, the handrails are only slightly further apart than the rather wide Love Mud Confucius handlebars on the Pugsley. You need to concentrate and try not to wobble too much and brush along the wooden handrails. The bridge is quite narrow and always wise to check who might be crossing ahead of you. There’s not a lot of room to pass. It was quite busy this evening with around a dozen cars parked.
Next zone on the itinerary was PillBoxWW2, located out in the featureless sand dunes. It’s been a while since I’ve been out here on the Pugsley and it was pleasant to cycle out the gravel footpath, almost like floating on air, which in a way it was, though not very much of it. I’d let the air on the tyres down to 8 psi on the front and 10 psi on the rear, my preferred pressure for mixed sand conditions. Even the loose dry sand didn’t present any problems but I would admit cycling up the main dune face just isn’t possible.
There is a path to the zone, though it’s not all that obvious, little more than a game trail used by the local Roe deer population. On the right, about 20 meters before the steep dune, a trail will lead you into the dunes and eventually the zone. You start by following the timber fence posts, keeping to the path after they end. In the image above, Pugsley is actually leaning against the side of the pill box. I might offer guided tours here if anyone is interested.
To reach the next zone, TheOldMan, I dropped down into a small depression in the dunes, on the landward side, then followed another little used trail towards the line of concrete anti-tank blocks, there turned right and up to the main path. This lead you easily down to Gullane Point and the large rock outcrop known as The Old Man. The zone starts before you reach the rocks.
The initial clear skies were beginning to cloud over in places, particularly towards where the sun will set. It was very mild, around 17 Degrees with only a minimal breeze from the east. After a quick photo shoot, it was time to head out for the two midget submarine wrecks, namely zones, SubWreckOne and SubWreckTwo. I removed my sandals and bungeed them onto the rear rack. Might as well keep them dry for later.
SubWreckOne was still under water, but I was able to take the zone. Then cycled out to SubWreckTwo, spending some time taking a few photos of the wreck with the setting sun behind. It was a very pleasant place to be. I could hear seals calling away out in the bay, seabirds all over the place and not another soul in sight. Bliss. I hung about for some time as it would have been a shame to depart too soon.
The dunes seemed very far away and I can understand why people are often concerned about coming out here but the tide still had another couple of hours to fall, before returning, so plenty of time. The final zone left in Aberlady Bay was SandySocks. Not much there other than sand, seawater, and more sand. Not even anything much to photograph either.
The next bunch of zones were those in Aberlady and at Kilspindie, but rather than head back to the parking area, I decided to head out across the sand and into the bay again. I cycled well out, almost as far as Gosford Sands. My hope, a long shot from previous experience, was to cross the Peffer Burn and enter Kilspindie from the seaward side. I’ve done this before in the past but it’s very much dependant on the depth of the river channel. Sometimes it’s only a few inches deep and easily rideable but not tonight. I estimated about 1.00 meter in places, so too risky when it’s getting so dark. So, it was back for the footbridge and into Aberlady.
After taking the zones in the village, LuffRigZone, Aberlady and SpotNakedBird, my turfing session returned via the shore path around the golf course. I was quite surprised how dark it was here on this visit. On my last trip with the Swifty kick scooter, I didn’t need to use lights but they were certainly needed this time. There was a couple of blokes walking along the path. We exchanged greetings but I wondered where they were heading. The six zones were easily taken. First GreenCraig, followed by CraigielawPt, MacaroniRocks, AberladyPoint, Kilspindie and finally, AberladyGreen. Back at the car, I loaded up the Pugsley and set off for home, well pleased with the evenings turfing. Okay, not a lot of zones but the splendour of the location makes up for that, and some. I think I was be returning here again soon.
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