Wednesday: Berwick to Bell’s Bothy, Haddington

Bit difficult to get motivated this morning as it is raining hard by the time we wake up. The hostel breakfast is good though, and we are away by 9am, as planned. There are two sets of proper hills today – the first between Berwick and Eyemouth – and it rains hard as we climb these. It is warm enough while we are going up but we all get cold on the way down as we are soaked, quite literally, to the skin. The upshot of this is a bit of a problem getting separated in Eyemouth while changing clothes and buying new socks. We end up in two separate coffee shops to warm up then wandering round in the rain to try and meet up as none of the mobiles would work. Eyemouth is a very enclosed little fishing port at the bottom of a valley and I’m sure is very pretty in other circumstances! Gwyn was particularly interested as the Eyemouth fishing disaster plays a key role in the. ‘Follow the Herring’ project Bryony is involved in.

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There are more hills again between Eyemouth and the next time the path hits the coast at Pease bay, but these prove to be rather more gradual and easier to climb.

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The biggest problem this time is that we are riding in the cloud at the top, on a busier road than usual, which makes Caroline and I, at least, us feel rather vulnerable despite the high vis clothing and bike lights. We descend to the caravan park at Pease bay about 2pm to the funniest sight of the day. We are just struggling to get our laden bikes across the bridge beside the ford at the bottom of the hill when a tractor tows a full-sized residential caravan through the ford beside us.

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We are very pleased to hear two of the cyclists we’d met yesterday describing the delicious Stilton and broccoli soup they’d had for lunch. Less pleased, however, to find that the kitchen has just closed. The staff are very friendly and take pity on us, rustling us up baked potatoes and coffee. Equally important, it is warm and dry! I take the opportunity to change from top to toe and feel much better. After lunch the rain is less determined so the dry clothes last a little longer. The route is also much easier and flatter once we get up out of Pease bay.

Quite long stretches are beside the A1 and A189 but at least the miles go quickly that way. We stop in Dunbar, birthplace of John Muir, and have a look at the amazing harbour there. We enjoy afternoon tea and delicious cakes and stock up on pesto, pasta and red wine as tonight’s bothy won’t be near any shops.

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We are doing really well till we get past East Linton and four or five miles from the bothy when there is a loud pop and Caroline’s tyre is completely flat. A piece of glass has gone right through her strengthened tyre and shredded both that and the inner tube. Fortunately she has a spare tube, if not a functioning pump, and between us we manage to change the tube and stick a bit of flip-flop sole inside the tyre as a temporary fix. Fortunately it is quite dry at this point, though it starts to rain again as we head off to the bothy, holding our breath a little for the tyre at first.

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Bell’s bothy is about three miles south of Haddington and we find it without problems. Getting in is a little trickier as the red door we’d been instructed to use is well hidden. Great little place once we get inside and Gwyn soon gets the wood burning stove working and we are very snug, if rather damp. It would be a bit too cosy with all six beds filled though, I think. We enjoy our pasta supper and red wine and it’s late by the time we head for bed. The place looks like a laundry with all our wet clothes hung up to dry. The wifi is the best we’ve had but still not good enough to reliably upload the blog but it is good enough to enable us to find a bike shop in Haddington for tomorrow.
Bell’s bothy is about three miles south of Haddington and we find it without problems. Getting in is a little trickier as the red door we’d been instructed to use is well hidden. Great little place once we get inside and Gwyn soon gets the wood burning stove working and we are very snug, if rather damp. It would be a bit too cosy with all six beds filled though, I think. We enjoy our pasta supper and red wine and it’s late by the time we head for bed. The place looks like a laundry with all our wet clothes hung up to dry. The wifi is the best we’ve had but still not good enough to reliably upload the blog but it is good enough to enable us to find a bike shop in Haddington for tomorrow.

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