It is a late Sunday afternoon. The sun is low and fading, but the day holds the promise of spring. We tracked Figgate burn upstream from it’s final spill into the Forth. It glittered alongside us, disappearing underground, beneath roads and railway bridges, to resurface, leading us to the foot of Figgate Park. It pooled into a reservoir with, at it’s centre, a pond where otters sometimes play and children feed ducks breadcrumbs from their fingertips.
This is a story of gales and sea, of shipwrecks and mountains of sand: a true Wild Soul Walk. It began with a glimpse and a promise of wild water from the window of a bus.
We arrived in Gullane, a small town in East Lothian, on a blustery March afternoon in search of another beach. We consulted our maps, and headed seaward, leaving the gastro-pub and vintage tea shop behind, meandering through lanes lined with early blossom and birdsong, and past a green spotted with blackbirds and magpies.
One of winter’s last days was passing. It was a smudged world of rain and dusk. I walked along the shore under raindrops as fine as dust. They clung to my skin like dew, and formed clouds when I breathed. Before long I was coated and slick, like a seal pup. Smirr, we call it here.
One of winter’s last days was passing. I trudged past streetlamps and sodium lights gleaming in the haze and mirrored on wet sand. The smirr muffled the sounds of faint sirens and engines, hushing the peep-peep of oyster catchers and cries of gulls. The waves were softened. Looking heavenwards, all was tinted cobalt, around me was horizon-less. The night’s stars would soon come.