Europe | United Kingdom (UK), Great Britain | Scotland | Scottish Borders And Lothians | Dunbar – Dunbar and Warm places
Saturday is not a day to wander Edinburghs crowded streets. There is no point in fighting the hordes of weekday workers who, lacking the choice of shopping Monday to Friday, turn weekends into a modern day re-enactment of the locust plagues of old. After much discussion a trip down the coast from Edinburgh to Dunbar, Coldingham and Berwick upon Tweed was decided on as an interesting use of a bright, sharp winter day.
We decided first to take a look at how Dunbar was fairing with the prospect of a new dual-carriageway link to Edinburgh not far off. Then a journey back to childhood holiday haunts, Scoutscroft Caravan Site (the new house built for Mrs Allen in the sixties is for sale) and maybe a look at Coldinghams ancient Priory. A stop for shellfish in Eyemouth with journeys end in Berwicks walled town where Border Reivers and disputes of whether allegiance is to Edinburgh or London hang in the air of a town, theoretically, still at war with Russia.
We travelled the A1 dual carriageway from Musselburgh to Haddington, an excellent, fast road which eats up the miles. Unfortunately it also provides an excellent all-round view of Cockenzie Power Station. Allied to the nuclear station on the other side of Dunbar one wonders whether this is a wise location to settle?
After poking round the old streets of Belhaven, home to the excellent brewery of the same name we entered Dunbar along the cliffs. A spectacularly located cliff-top hotel beckoned for lunch until we realised it was not four star but four crown, an award at least four years old; so much for the much vaunted STB grading scheme.
Dunbar is a fishing port now minus its fishing boats, just too far out for most Edinburgh commuters. The main street has the promise of great times to come but sadly, in our view still a significant time away. Dominated by the long-derelict shell of the George Hotel now joined in redundancy by the massive bulk of the Church of Scotlands eventide home it has just too many empty shops. With three full buildings swathed in scaffold there is a suggestion of new investment but we think just the early speculative kind which preys on rather than rejuvenates communities. The cap on our and probably many other aspirations to find a new home here is the long burned out shell of the towns largest hotel (name escapes me) a monument to the greed of the developer owner or the narrow-mindedness of the local authority, perhaps even a bit of both.
A walk along the main street and a look in the Estate Agents window strengthened our resolve. Why pay ?65000 for a poorly located two-bedroom flat in what should be a redevelopment area when the rural splendour of South West France could offer much better for ?26000? We needed to escape this cold land and explore much more of the world before deciding. Before leaving town we paid a visit to the local deli. With olives at ?11 per kilo, roll on these sultry Mediterranean autumn days!
Well, every day cant be a memorable success but we returned home more resolved to explore the warmer areas of the world, the day had not been totally wasted it had at least reminded us of how bitter and cutting the wind is all along Scotland’s East Coast.