From tidepools to Torness

Today was another escape away from the estate with my adventure partner. And once again, our adventure took us to beaches in East Lothian, a bit further along the coast from last week’s adventure.

We started our adventure along the shore at White Sands Beach near Dunbar, walking towards Torness Nuclear Power Station – with countless stops in between for (too many) photos and a few geocaches.

At the start of the walk, we were greeted by a range of fossils. My friend has a degree in geology and lives in East Lothian, so he was able to share his wisdom with me so that I knew what I was looking at. I really enjoyed that because having the knowledge of what I was looking at made it that much more interesting. And it means that I will now be able to identify some of these fossils on my own in the future. For example, I now know what fossilised crinoids and coral look like, which means I can keep an eye out for them on future walks.

One of the most fascinating fossil lessons was my friend’s explanation of the cool series of potholes. I was looking at them, wondering what could have caused all these shallow potholes that seemed to be about the same size. I wondered if they were from old pilings from a pier or an old industrial or military structure. I wondered if they were some sort of burrow made by wildlife. I wondered… well, I wasn’t sure what to wonder. Then I was told that they are the remains of lycopod forests from 320-350-million years ago. The trees left this series of “potholes” where the trunks once stood, which can be seen when the tide is low. Read more about the various geological wonders of this are here.

Knowing that was what I was looking at made the potholes that much more interesting. And, of course, the fact that they exist as little tidepools now provided me a great deal of entertainment as I peered into them in search of life.

Further along our walk was the Barns Ness Lighthouse. It is no longer used as a lighthouse, but rather is a private residence. But it looked so wonderful sitting along the rocky shore. Of course, I also found a bit of ironic humour in the fact that there is an old shipwreck a few hundred yards from the lighthouse.

I don’t know why I like lighthouses so much, but you can tell by the photos that I really do. (I took more than 25 lighthouse photos in total!)

Moving on from the lighthouse, we made our way to an old lime kiln from the 1700s. It was the point where we climbed from the shore to the paths along the dunes, and also served as a nice place for a picnic lunch.

After lunch, we walked past Torness which gave me my first up-close views of the stark and kind of beautiful building that I’d only ever seen from the train or a car before. But the power station holds a very special place in my heart, for a very special reason: Paul’s first visit to Edinburgh was as part of an organised protest against Torness. (Oh yes, he was quite the protesting rebel back in the day!) It was the trip that made him decide to go to Edinburgh for university, and therefore the plant holds a special place in my heart because, without it, I may never have met him. But I digress…

From Torness, we made the return to the car via an old road and railway trail away from the beach. It was a brisk walk with few stops but offered quite lovely views of its own – including wildflowers and wildlife. But because we (OK, I) spent so much time taking photos of every single thing I see, our return journey couldn’t be as leisurely. This means that the first half of the 9.4-mile took 3.5 hours and the second half took 1.5 hours. Yeah… I do dilly-dally quite a bit at times!

I am now feeling equal parts tired and energised. But more importantly, I am feeling excited about my next adventure!

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