Walking and talking


Welcome to this inaugural post from the Walking Talking blog. What might appear here are musings and witterings about travelling, reading, writing, walking, talking, football or whatever I am thinking about at the time.

I was just thinking about a place near where I grew up in East Lothian. Just outside Dunbar is the John Muir Country Park, stretching from Dunbar Castle to Tyninghame. It is a very varied place, encompassing golf courses, beaches and an animal park. I spent a lot of time there as a kid. Anyway, the particular part of the park that came to mind a few minutes ago is at the far end of the dump road, where it meets the Biel Burn near West Barns. There is a bridge there, leading towards the sand dunes or the firs, what is locally known as ‘John Muir’, and I was just thinking of walking there. It is nearly always muddy and usually smells rank (there is a water treatment works nearby) but the path leads to good places, whichever way you take.

I haven’t been there in a few years. I live in Glasgow now and visits to East Lothian are infrequent these days. I have to work and travels invariably take me elsewhere. (Tomorrow, for example, combines work and a trip to Edinburgh to watch Hibs.) I have other, familiar places that are closer to home and I seem to discover new ones as I go. But East Lothian is where I am from. However infrequently I visit, it is a place I think about a lot. It is where a lot of my formative experiences took place, good and bad, and my personality still reflects my upbringing there. I still have sauce on my chips even while I have to bite back the urge to end my sentences with the word ‘ken’.

When I moved away, I was told ‘never forget where you come from’. I am a Dunbar boy, sure, and that won’t change. I left because I wanted a different life but now I live here in Glasgow, I am not so different as a person, even while my life very much is.

I like exploring. That’s what keeps me going a lot of the time, going places and just waiting to see what happens. Sometimes it is possible to explore without leaving your seat. It is amazing what your memory can throw up. The dump road is a place where I have walked a lot. The last time I was there was the night a friend was offered a job and I walked much of the way with my mobile clamped to my lug. I remember being there studying biology at high school and walking our dog. I don’t know what made me think of it just now. I sometimes get random flashes of memories of places when I am reading or writing and this was just another. It’s spurred an idea to take a trip east in the next few weeks before the autumn sets in. We’ll see.


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