Back In Black

Day 40 – Berwick-Upon-Tweed to Dunbar – 29th June – 23.4 nm

Yesterday we had to decide whether to drive across to Glasgow with our tickets for the AC/DC concert, or take the good weather around St. Abb’s today.

Day’s are precious and the three fours and a zero on the alarm clock this morning (not necessarily in that order) confirmed yet another sacrifice on the altar of canoeing. Rock 'n' roll damnation.

Out of Berwick at 06:30 – sleepily. I paddle under a high grey sky and flat calm conditions - that will do fine. The plan is for the neap tide to take me to St.Abb’s and then just to slog steadily against things from there until either I've had enough, or Aberdeen – whichever comes first. I don’t really expect to hear the sound of helicopters at the end of the day though.

Nothing eventful happens until Eyemouth, where suddenly, a whole lot more of nothing happens.
I ease by a line of fishing boats strung along the eddyline and continue towards the cliffs of St. Abb’s Head. Last time I paddled this stretch, I cursed my way to Berwick in a stiff offshore wind, with a broken rudder cable and an intimidating swell.

Today is blissful by comparison. There is a bit of a breeze blowing over the tops, but that’s all. I avoid it by sneaking along the base of the cliffs anyway. The trade off is the all-pervading smell of pungent guano, but that's a fair trade I think.

Telegraph Hill goes by and I head towards Torness Power Station at Thortonloch. You’ve got to admit that the UK Circumnavigation is a great way to see all of the UK’s Nuclear Power Stations if nothing else.

It becomes a bit of a slog as the breeze is funnelled down from the hills and the out flow from the power plant slows things by a surprising amount too. But I'm in no great hurry, it’s not even lunch time and I won’t be going much further than the few more miles to Dunbar today anyway. Geography rules.

I sneak past the impressive array of Dolos units, energy dissipating sentries on the power station breakwater. They are individually numbered, and as I head along the breakwater I am intrigued as the numbers steadily drop.  I look on in excited anticipation, will I see No.1?  No.

I round the lighthouse on the low headland at Barns Ness and head into the pretty sounding White Sands. It’s more of a Scruffy Magnolia Sands really, but it will do. Dunbar can wait for another day, it’s time to put my feet up, after all I've been on my backside all morning.

The Taran is wrestled through a veritable jungle and then we dry kit in the breeze while we have a leisurely picnic lunch.  Later we head up the road to the campsite. I'm 860 nm in now, but we are once again guided to our campsite pitch –‘ just in case we struggle with the map’. Yeah, whatever...