Route 76

Training in the gym is progressing and I have started my training for this year’s attempt on the National 3 Peaks. I have a feeling that this time we are going to complete it and so I want to feel as though I can manage it without dying. The key will be in pacing ourselves and pushing on no matter what. Oh, and taking a map.

My training so far has consisted of walking from my house to Dunbar once a week. That’s a distance of some ten miles and most of it is on the flat. Normally I would walk along the John Muir Way that follows the coast line. While this is very picturesque it isn’t the quickest route and so I have taken a different route that I have never followed in all of the years that I have lived here.

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National Cycle Route 76 passes by Cockburnspath on its way from Berwick upon Tweed to Edinburgh, and from there onwards to Stirling and Saint Andrews. The first section that I walked runs on what used to be the A1 and took me across Dunglass New Bridge (which is actually the second oldest of the five bridges that span Dunglass Burn at this point). The views down the gorge here are extraordinary. The road carries on to pass Bilsdean and is much nicer to walk on now, having been resurfaced in the last couple of years. The route passes under the railway just before Dunglass New Bridge and then passes over it again at Bilsdean before dropping down towards the current A1 and continuing along beside it for some way.

This is part of the problem with this route, it’s not overly pretty. As a result I’ve not seen another soul when I’ve walked it. There are quiet stretches fringed with farm land, but a large section of the route is beside the A1, it passes close to Torness Power Station and Dunbar Cement Works, there is a good view of the Viridor landfill site, and the final leg is along the A1087, which isn’t busy but the traffic hurtles along it and there’s not much of a pavement. I don’t want to make it sound too bad. I enjoyed the solitude of the walk, just don’t expect too much in the way of fantastic scenery if you decide to follow in my footsteps.

The first week I walked the route I got some nasty blisters as a result of a poor choice of socks. Last week I managed to avoid that and felt much fresher afterwards. Things are looking up. All I need to do now is find some time to climb a couple of hills.

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