It was the first outing of the year for the walking group today! And, hip hip hooray, we walked under pale blue skies and in gentle sunshine. What joy!
I arrived in the nick of time. We always set off at 10 am, but by the time I had banished all traces of Jack Frost from the car windows, I barely had time for the journey.
We gathered in the car park of the Prestongrange Museum, just beyond Prestonpans. This part of the world has an interesting and industrial past. I am not going into it all now, apart from saying that coal and salt have featured strongly, but you can get more information here http://www.prestongrange.org/site/pages/about-us.php The museum is closed at the moment, but we made use of their car park and then set off on a good circular tramp.
We walked along the north side of the racecourse at Musselburgh (where they have been racing horses since 1816). Then along the seawall, the River Esk running out here, into the Firth of Forth. We stopped to look across the old mussel beds (hence Musselburgh) to the distinctive outline of Arthur's Seat and Edinburgh.
Our route took us back alongside the sea, to the left, and Levenhall Links to our right. Flying over the links was a desert of lapwings, and wafting around, back and forth across the top of the grasses were two or three short eared owls! What a fantastic sight!!!
In the far distance, looking wintery and beautiful, are the Pentland Hills. It was a very good first walking group walk of 2016.