Thursday, 25 August 2016

Sunrise at Red Rock Bay

Walk along East Coast Path. (South-east Scotland)

The day started off grey-skied. I was so ill-prepared that I forgot various things. Most importantly I only realised once I was at the bus stop, was a sleeping bag. We were going to camp (C was bringing the tents) and I'd quite forgotten about a sleeping bag. I phone C – and he had forgotten to  pack his too! But he hadn't yet left his house. I'll bring two he chirrups. I was beginning to feel that this was a doomed expedition but he'd lost none of his optimism. For I'd remembered that we'd have to carry everything as we walked. I'd been thinking when I suggested camping out, of how much I had enjoyed camping in France. But then, our tents were parked on a campsite and when we walked we didn't have to carry anything. I phoned C again to say I wanted to call it off. Instead of camping we could just go for a walk that day. C's phone was switched off.

When we met up, he was cheerful. It's fine, I don't mind carrying both tents he said. So I could hardly complain about my much smaller pack with only overnight things, spare clothes, food, book, notebook and my sleeping bag transferred from his pack. Yet even that came to feel very heavy. And C's, which I tested, was so heavy I could barely lift it.

But as we walked, the grey clouds flicked their tails like fish in the sea of sky and headed south. We walked north along the cliff path looking down on greyish sea turning to blue. There were some rocks by the bays and inlets that were folded with careful precision, an arrangement of time and slow movement. 

Rocks must have a very different sense of time to us I say. We look at dragonflies and think what a short life they have and feel a little sorry that it's so short. Maybe rocks look at us and think the same. 

They look like a loaf of sliced bread says C. 

My goal was Eyemouth and coffee. None was available in Burnmouth.  As the cliffs and shoreline are ragged and indented, so the path weaves around the sea edges.

When we finally were in sight of Eyemouth, it still look a while before the path dipped down to the harbour piled with fishing creels and lobster pots at the end and several fishing boats on the oily water. 

The breeze vanished and I suddenly felt I was in somewhere quite unfamiliar, some small town in an unknown part of mainland Europe, hot, still streets on the other side of the harbour. I felt exhausted, my shoulders ached and we sat outside at the first café we came to. The coffee was delicious. One of the things I'd forgotten was my water bottle which I'd filled, ready to pack, then left behind. But there are shops in this small town and I bought a bottle of water. Totally revived, we continue. 

The path goes up  the cliff side and skirts the caravan site. It was now late afternoon and we were thinking of finding a place to pitch the tents. We had seen one perfect place on the way to Eyemouth and considered going back there. No let's go on I said.

There are fields of ripening grain on our left – wheat and barley, all yellow against the blue of sky. It was a pleasure to walk in this warm sunshine these rich colours on either side, and a slight breeze.

And after the path went inland a little, to skirt a fjord-like cleft in the land, then came back on the other side of the inlet, there was a flat and grassy place beside the sea, covered with clover. I like this I said, let's camp here. It was a sheltered bay, no wind, no midgies. The shore was red stones and the cliff was red rock.

A ring of red stones on the grass showed that others had camped here, and made a fire. And we did too, once we'd put up the tents as there was plenty of dry driftwood sticks lying on the red-stone beach. 

As we ate our provisions a flock of birds flew overhead, heading out to sea. We couldn't make out what kind of birds they were, not seagulls – possibly they were pigeons going home to St. Abbs, where there's a colony who live in a dovecot there.

One solitary wide-winged bird wheels and cries along the cliff-top. It felt as if it was coming to see us, marking our place and passage, a cliff-top guardian.

The sky, a newly perforated container, leaks light, and a bank of clouds turns deep pink, a series of ruffles that look solid as cream. C looks through his binoculars. They look like the surface of a planet he says.

We sit by the fire, watching the clouds fade into blue-grey then merge with the night.
To go to sleep listening to the sounds of the sea.

During the night I hear a few bird calls and several loud barks. I thought it was a dog, a wild fierce sounding dog, a guttural warning in the night. Always ready to mine a bank of unformed fears I conjured up a molosh, one of those huge mastiffs that protect flocks and will attack anyone coming near their flocks unless their master calls them off. But there were no approaching sounds, no more barking. In the morning, C, who had heard it too thought it might have been a deer or a fox, very unlikely to have been a dog.

From the tent I watched the sun rise over the water, appearing briefly between ledges of cloud. 

These pictures were taken from the tent (hence the line of the guy rope), as it was a chilly morning and I was not ready to get up yet. I don't think I have ever seen the sky and sea this golden colour before. When I've seen photographs like this I've assumed that the colours have been altered, but I haven't changed anything in this photograph. And this golden colour was exactly how it was, the sky, the sea and the air all around. This was taken a few minutes before 6 am. Just as an experiment though, I pressed the 'image colours adjust' button, which usually enhances the colours - and this is what came out - very different!

The sky became overcast but after we packed up we headed to Coldingham Bay, then on to St Abbs, to wait for the café to open so I could have the necessary morning coffee. 

My back was aching in various places now. We followed the Creel Path to Coldingham and got a bus back to the city, a strange place full of bustling people. And I came home to my wondrously peaceful house and garden. Where today the sun shines in a late summer, insects pursue their busy lives and the shadows of rowan and cherry trees have stretched their shady, cooling fingers. 

On the Creel Path


am said...

Thoroughly enjoyed this. Again I wonder if my Scottish ancestors walked here. I feel at home seeing your photos, all except the sun rising over the ocean! All my life, I've lived where the sun sets at the ocean.

dritanje said...

It sounds as if the Scottish landscape is definitely in your genes am or Rupert Sheldrake might say in your morphic field where he believes ancestral memories live. This is not a big island and near where I live it's particularly narrow so it's quite possible to see the sun set on the west coast and see it rise on the east coast!

Forest Dream Weaver said...

What a delight to experience this glorious sunrise! All the skies and seascapes are very beautiful.This summer I've noticed that cloud formations and colours have bee unusually interesting.At first I thought I'd finally become really aware of sky but other people are saying the same thing.
Lovely photos!

George said...

Many thanks for taking us with you on this walking/camping trip. Thoroughly enjoyable!

dritanje said...

Thanks Ruby, yes the skies were tremendous these days and it was thrilling to see such a sunrise. Did you spot the birds in the first picture, they look like dust flecks they're so small.
M xx

john yates said...

Very much enjoyed the writing and accompanying photography. Especially enjoyed the dawn chorus, a wonderful time of day anyway, your photos and commentary described this very well. Glad you had a sound time Morelle, take care xx

dritanje said...

Glad you enjoyed it George. Thanks for stopping by!

dritanje said...

Thanks for your comment John. Yes, the dawn is wonderful, but I rarely see it, and this one was special. I'm going camping again next month but I do find it a bit cold in this country. Hope things are good with you John, I did enjoy the poem you posted on fb recently. xx

three sea horses said...

What a lovely post, fantastic photos - stirred memories, thoughts, senses :-)
Must catch up soon! Lots love Txx