Opening the Door: Day 3 … Bridges

Here is a little hint of where I went today … can you guess where it is?

So after the excitement of Monday and that macro of the snail and getting drenched yesterday what could I possibly do today to beat them?  The weather was causing me problems first thing and I was swithering between Dunkeld and some easy walking or Fife and long bus rides.  Weather Guru asked “so where is Mrs Benn going today?” and I had to be honest and say I was undecided … yet.  No wildlife to spot this morning but apparently 5p coins were in short supply so I was rooting around in my purse to see how many I could swap. I found myself explaining why I have a pocketful of 5p coins these days – they irritate me because they are so small so all my 5ps get dropped into a pocket and used to buy access to public conveniences when necessary.  Unfortunately the bus stations in Fife that have a rotating barrier don’t take 5ps but do have change machines so I end up splitting 20p coins to make up the 30p … whatever happened to “spending a penny?”

Anyway that is all by the by!  By the time I got to the Seagate I had decided that I should go to Fife because otherwise I was wasting my East of Scotland Megarider – I can go to Dunkeld on my ordinary Megarider any week.  I had rooted through my growing collection of bus information and settled on a destination.  The first leg would be a repeat of yesterday on the X24 to Dunfermline.  Today the 99 was even later arriving in Dundee so I decided I would alight in Guardbridge and catch the X27 there.

When I got to Dunfermline I had 25 minutes and I wanted to get to Mountain Warehouse; they have a waterproof poncho on their website and after yesterday’s deluge one could come in handy.  I popped into Mountain Warehouse in Perth at the weekend and the staff were lovely; sadly Dunfermline doesn’t offer quite such a good welcome.  They had no stock left of the item and the salesperson said they had sold out for T in the Park – that was months ago!  This store is close to the Fife Coastal Path and walkers need services.  I had said I had seen it on the website so the salesperson told me to order online – I smiled “thanks , but that doesn’t keep me dry today” and left.

I caught an number 87 (a wee Optare) to travel to North Queensferry.  This journey was only a few miles but we did the very very wiggly route so it took almost an hour.  Eventually we arrived opposite the church (which didn’t look like a church so it surprised me!) and I was ready to walk back to Inverkeithing providing I didn’t have to climb a steep hill to get back to the bus stop!  Wrong!!

I set off in a southerly direction down a narrow road which looked a bit like a dead end.  I kept going and suddenly I was going down a steep hill (steep enough to have a handrail provided) and all I could think was “oh I have to walk back up here” and “those tiny little cobbles are sweet but I hope I don’t catch my boot toe and fall …” but the views were worth it.

When I reached the bottom of the brae a little village opened up in front of me – although my eyes were not seeing the sign I really needed to see (Toilets).  I spotted a bus stop but it had no timetable, so I was still thinking I would have to get back to the top of the brae.  I turned down a  side road and there was a bus shelter with a timetable (I had 20 minutes if I wanted to catch that bus) and a map which showed me where the toilet was located.  I used the facilities (had to pay 10p extra because I didn’t have any 10p or 5p coins (hmmmmph) and then I stopped to take some more bridge pictures with the camera rather than the phone.

At the start of the descent I was at the top right of this picture, on the far side of the bridge.  I passed under the bridge near the top of the brae which then twisted to the left of the photograph and down and finishing just behind the tree to the left of the white house.

So I had travelled from Dundee with it’s two bridges across the Tay to the edge of the Forth and it’s two bridges.  I have previously used the analogy of two bridges crossing  the same water but not being interchangeable in my work and doubtless I may come back to that in the future – but for now they are awesome engineering achievements.  Just before I turn my back on the Forth Bridges for now though this continued the theme of arriving at a familiar place from a new direction and is a link to another journey I made many years ago too:

  • I have crossed the Forth Rail Bridge countless times in recent years – so this location is familiar to me – but I always arrive onto the bridge in a  train and have never been down to the village below the bridges.
  • More than half my lifetime ago I travelled with two special people … neither of whom are in my life now … to Aberdeen from the Midlands.  We stopped for a break at South Queensferry across the river – I wonder if I took photos? I will have to look at my negatives and see.  That journey took me ultimately to the Shetland Isles and was the start of a love affair with the Scottish Isles … maybe I should do a blog post about the islands I have visited so far?

So I did not climb back up the Brae, instead I took a different bus back to Inverkeithing and then changed to the 7 as far as Kirkcaldy (like yesterday) and then the X60 – but today I was not tempted by the sunshine in Anstruther!  I arrived back in Dundee earlier so I could hunt down a waterproof poncho – no luck but I did buy a cagoule that packs up small and some gel insoles for my boots.  I didn’t walk much today but I have had my boots on all day by way of conditioning my feet for some serious walking over the next few days.

I continued my search for fascinating bus stops this week – but have failed to get photographs so far – the finds include a rustic shelter at Dairsie and a shelter made of railway sleepers between Dunfermline and Inverkeithing.  This has also led me to think about other oddities – for example this house at North Queensferry which has a car parking space halfway up it (wish I had had time to go round to the front!

It also got me thinking about all the off stone buildings I have seen in fields in Fife – now I have realised they are Doocots.  Having read up about them I now understand how vital they were but am still puzzled about why so many have survived here when they must have been commonplace across the country?  Maybe in other counties they were built and owned by a different group of people and so are hidden away on estates?  Essentially this was an early form of battery farming, except the pigeons were free flying since they had a homing instinct.

Another unusual feature widespread throughout Fife are Milestones and Waymarkers – I don’t have photos to hand (although I do have one deep in my archive) but they often look like this one

Finally something unusual that caught my lens – they are preparing for the Dunhill Links Golf Championship and at the Old Course at St Andrews I spotted this camera position high above the course – don’t think my vertigo is cured enough to be up there taking pictures!  Golf is not a sport I follow but I gather that there will be celebrity spotters out in force the next few days throughout St Andrews and probably Carnoustie … I do hope they realise I am on holiday with a mission and am not wanting to deal with crowds and nonsense?

I will leave you with one final ponder today – why would someone want a full size statue of a cow and a calf along with a border collie and some sheep in their front garden? especially when they have the real thing in the field next door? Just curious – very bizarre choice of garden ornament but I have seen two of the cow and calf combos in two days … obviously I am not up on garden fashion!

Something significant didn’t happen (yet today) … I will update you on that tomorrow! However I did glimpse another rainbow – that is at least one every day for the past week.

Today I:

  • Continued to arrive at familiar places from a different direction;
  • Walked down a steep gradient without tripping;
  • Paid way over the top for an automated loo;
  • Didn’t drink enough fluids and didn’t do my tai chi; but
  • I did stick to my healthy eating and the sugar withdrawal is not too bad this time round.
Today’s statistics: Cost: £0; Miles travelled: 202     Steps taken: 3,000; Pictures taken: 30

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About nonehpets

I have an interest in how interior design and adapting a home to support living independently for longer can be complementary. The blog Life Long Design is part of an holistic plan for establishing a social enterprise which will offer the people of Tayside opportunities to explore Telecare and the wider scope of assistive technologies. Enabling individuals to make more informed and responsible choices in the care and support they need in their independent living. I am also keen to see public transport more widely adopted and sustainable rural bus services in particular supported. The Blog Travels with a Megarider shares my journey to find serenity in my life as I make that transition form employment to social entrepreneur. One of my methods in increasing serenity is to travel as many miles as I can on a fixed price bus ticket and explore my own local places of interest. Places that I used to go past and had never stopped to look at; places of peace and tranquility; places where I have had some wonderful conversations with complete strangers. I would like to share with you a response to when I described that one paragraph in an e-mail made it sound simple: "Believe me, Cathy, it does not sound simple. You are taking on an incredible challenge for all the right reasons. It is ambitious and admirable - the sort of project that can change lives, including yours." He is right it is ambitious but when did we every achieve anything by settling for the status quo and ignoring what doesn't work for people? So I would welcome your company from time to time on this journey either simply as a reader or if you are brave enough adding your own thoughts to the comments as you feel moved.

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