I left home on a Sunday afternoon, bundled in scarf and hat against the mid-February wind. I wanted to walk further on the coastal John Muir Way, between Prestonpans and Cockenzie. I imagined – and longed for – a rugged and picturesque sandy bay. A place where tales of it’s history, of the former glass-works, pottery, colliery, and brick-works at Prestongrange, are fragments which hang in the air like mist. This would be somewhere quaint, inspiring, and full of stories; these industries had thrived from the 1800s until the 1970s when they were closed down.
I could still smell bonfires in my hair.
The night before was Hogmanay, and we had trudged along the pitch of the shore drawn to lighted fires. Following music and song, we huddled around a bonfire amongst locals dancing on the sand. “We are locals too now,” my partner said. It was my first New Year’s Eve in Scotland since the millennium. The bells chimed midnight, and the tankers boomed in the Forth, lit up and sounding their horns to see in the New Year. I was so happy that I cried.