Opening the Door: Day 4 … What goes up …
Dog and I were out before dawn as usual this morning and it had been a clear night; the ground had pockets of frost and the stars were shining in full glory. I have always had an interest in the constellations and it was nice to once again make friends with Orion, Cassiopeia, and the Great Bear – or perhaps given the time of year we should use it’s other name “the Plough”. Dog misses so much keeping his nose to the ground – he never sees the beauty of the stars!
Thinking about these ‘old friends’ made me ponder something that happened yesterday – a driver with whom I have only ever exchanged “please” “thank you” “Good morning” and “Good bye” suddenly decided to start a conversation – I suppose this is the extension of the arriving at the same place from a different direction; how do we make friends with folk in the first place?
Anyway how about today’s journey – well I was on a mission; I had challenged myself to climb over the promontory from Earlsferry to see Shell Bay and connect up the missing piece of my coastal photograph jigsaw. Here is the headland in question and you have seen those masts on top countless times from the other side.
The weather was set fair and it was so clear and the sea so calm that on the bus down to Earlsferry I was able to clearly make out the Bell Rock Lighthuse
Accessing this requires crossing the golf course – you may remember the notice that made me smile before warning of golf balls from both directions? The golfers were very nice and we exchanged pleasantries as our paths crossed. This and the fact the Dunhill Links is on just now also made me ponder a funny conversation from a few months ago:
I had been to Broughty Ferry to take photographs one Sunday. Broughty Ferry is becoming famous for (amongst other things) sightings from the beach of a pod of dolphins. One the return journey the bus driver asked where I had been so I said “to the ferry but I didn’t see any dolphins” to which he replied “oh that is good then … don’t you like golfers?”. Communication is so important and even now this misunderstanding makes me chuckle. I have nothing against golfers but it is not a sport that interests me … today I did see golfers!
I had seen the line of the path on the hill on a previous visit and it didn’t look too bad. So I marched across the beach giving myself a motivational talk. I clambered up the wooden steps at the start of the path (note that one step is broken and the one below is breaking). I knew I wouldn’t be able to carry my camera in my hand on this section so I relied on whipping out my phone and snapping an image now and again. Here is the route marked onto the photograph … I will come back to why part of it is dotted soon. Below that is a map with the path sketched on to give you an idea of the steepness.
So here I am taking a picture of where I am going before I left the beach
This point was the start of the real climb and I knew that once I took the next step I had to get to the top … turning back would no longer be an option. The top of the wooden steps from the beach is the light spot in the centre so I have walked a sort of v shaped path on a slight incline.
I paused just under the rock outcrop that is to the right of the path and leaned against a rock for a moment – that was my first moment of panic and I was getting a bit jittery. But after a brief breather I pushed on making sure to keep a steady pace.
Almost at the top – but what I didn’t know was the path carried on along the edge … by now I was starting to get scared and I asked various metaphoric friends to come stand beside me so I could go on and continued giving myself the motivational talking to.
Finally I climbed over the top and took this before walking along the edge of the adjacent stubble field as an alternative to the path (shown as a dotted line in those pictures above)
And here is that mast.
And this is what I wanted to see “Shell Bay” with Lower Largo in the background.
I decided not to continue down to the bay but to head back to Elie along a cycle route. Once at the top of the headland it was eerie not having any sea sounds or any wind. I saw a kestrel but wasn’t able to catch it on camera and could hear various small birds around me. In many ways it became quite a musical day – the borrowed bus I started out on had a sing song wheeze; the song birds on the promontory and later on the curlew’s call – a sound I have always loved.
I knew I could find a clean public convenience in Elie and a place to sit and eat my lunch. I did both and then set off to walk the coastal path in the other direction to St Monans – but before I set off here is one last look across the town at the walk I did earlier.
You may remember the Elephant Hawk Moth caterpillar I included a few weeks ago – well today I found several of these caterpillars. I think they too are moth caterpillars and I think they are commonly known as wooly bears. From what I have read there is a suggestion that if they have a broad band of brown then it will be a mild winter … anyway they were rather cute but I took care not to touch.
The ruin at Elie …
… and St Monans white houses in the distance.
A strange little sea stack in a boulder field
The ruin close to St Monan’s was a welcome sight after a tricky section of the path – muddy underfoot, with rock embedded in the path in places, steep twisty stone steps and the brush cut undergrowth lying on the path so one couldn’t see what was underfoot. There is a steep little climb up to the gate by the ruin … and that is not the end of the path!
I took a look at the ‘low tide route’ (really impressed with the very clear guidance on the previous section when you use the high tide alternative) and I could see there was a section with a steep drop alongside it – I knew that my feet were too tired to do that section so reluctantly I turned back and took the high tide alternative path and found myself in a stubble field again. I stumbled back to the road and then along to the bus stop … St Monans please I beg you – put a seat back in that bus shelter! I had one brief shower of rain just as I approached the bus stop.
Then back to St Andrews on the school run 95. Young people – do you think it is funny to speak like that in front of members of the public? It is not big and it is not clever – time to start growing up and stop showing yourselves up!
I have cried today when I pushed myself to do something that scared me and I have laughed at myself and then cried with joy at achieving something and laughed again at my success. Someone told me recently that reading some of these entries had encouraged them in a challenge they face … if this blog helped I am happy for you because I know that sense of elation when I get it right and I understand the fears that stop us.
For my last picture today … a rainbow. This one was amazing – it was actually right down to and ‘touching the sea’ and I watched for several minutes as we approached St Andrews. Another format of rainbow I have never seen before – a new way of reaching the same outcome. Rainbows have significance for me and so I cannot help but feel that all the rainbows I have seen these past few weeks are ‘approval’ that I am getting it right … thank you.
I do have some ponders from today:
- Really? leggings and a short wool jacket with a big belt? no sense of decorum? I cannot help but wonder if you forgot to put something on this morning
- Why do complete strangers think it is okay to ask me questions – it happens all the time. This morning’s example whilst standing at a bus stop in walking boots, half gaiters and with a back pack and a smart woman with “Alfred Dunhill Links Championship” on her jacket asked “Are you going walking? where?” I answered but why do folk assume it is okay? I rarely ask questions because people tell me things and I observe … so do people think I look lonely or do they think that is a self assured woman I can ask questions without her throwing a tantrum? or perhaps I have a message on my forehead which reads “go on ask me anything?” I don’t really mind, I have nothing to hide I am just curious … but too polite to ask why they do it!
- That man in rigger boots and a chunky sweater – why were you walking a ginger cat on a lead? I saw this cat jump off the sea wall at Anstruther – now I was on the bus and couldn’t therefore ask but I am curious. You did not strike me as a ‘cat person’ – it seemed out of kilter.
- Why do I remember so much useless information? A few days ago when I posted about the boat builders in Arbroath I stumbled across a photo blog of that boat yard with a boat in dry dock called “Boy Gary” that wee boat is now in Anstruther harbour …
So today I:
- Did things that scared me – but did them anyway;
- Talked to myself a lot;
- Met a dog who was scared of me (cannot remember the last time that happened);
- Walked a lot;
- Am sore;
- Think I added Greenshnks to my list of spotted birds and I am still tryin gto work out another I don’t recognise;
- Didn’t do my tai chi; and
- Dealt calmly with toxic-friend (this was what hadn’t happened yesterday) on a mildly toxic phone conversation.