North Berwick

Trip Start Sep 03, 2007
Trip End Sep 14, 2007

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Where I stayed
The Wing B&B

Flag of United Kingdom  ,
Tuesday, September 4, 2007

   Well, it was a long flight but I finally made it to Edinburgh.   Amazingly enough, so did my luggage . . .   at the same time.  Flying in we turned over the Firth of Forth, seeing the Firth Rail Bridge at sunrise which was stunning.  We also flew over cattle and sheep just outside the city on farms - not quite like Houston.  So, I grabbed the bags and off to Arnold Clark Car Rental for my Ford Focus.  Right outside of the office was a huge roundabout, so I was thrown into the fire regarding left hand side driving.  I got to a local supermarket and bought a couple of things, and once I was on the road I got the hang of it quickly.  My mantra of "stay left, look right" worked like a charm.  The ride to North Berwick was very easy and extremely pastoral.  Small towns like Gullane (pr. gill-ann), Aberlady, Longniddry.  Small roads and roundabouts - very few stop signs and stop lights.

   I arrived in North Berwick around 10am, and it is very quaint.  It is right on the water, with small shops and restaurants peppered throughout the village.  Bass Rock dominates the view, as well as the view across the firth to Fife.  I checked in with James and Angie Sandison at the Wing B&B.  Again, very quaint, right across the road from the beach.  I fought the urge to crash on the bed, as I had a tee time in a couple of hours.  Instead, I went to lunch in town and had a panini with an espresso, as well as a caramel chocolate shortbread for dessert - delicious.  Off to the course!

   North Berwick Golf Club has been in existence since 1832, and the clubhouse is a grand building reminiscent of St. Andrew's.  It is right on the edge of town, and the golf course seems to grow out of the streets.  I was unable to get a game with a member, so I had to play as a single.  Although it was a touch depressing being out alone, it gave me an opportunity to shoot some good pics of the course.  I did wish I had someone to share the round with, as it was an experience that needed to be shared and I think I might have played better if playing with someone.  (There, getting all my excuses out early . . . I was tired, never played links golf before, it was windy, etc., etc.)  The front nine was into the wind, and it was also pushing the balls to the beach.  To spare some from the details, I will sum up the round like this:  at one point in the round I cut my finger.  The only place I found blood was on the scorecard (no joke).  Very correct description of my day on the course - bloody.  My two tips for Scottish golf are: a) don't hit your drive into the rough, and b) don't hit your drive into the bunkers.  If you can follow those two tips, you will play beautifully.  I know from experience, that if you don't . . . you won't.  Golf has been played here since the 1600's, and it is a very old style course.  Rock walls through the course, deep bunkers - simply majestic.

   The town welcomes you back in on the 18th.  Tremendous setting for the last hole.  I finished up and went back to the B&B for a shower and a change of clothes.  I went to dinner at an Italian restaurant in town, where I met an older couple named John and Marian Flynn.  John is an avid golfer and a member of a club in Edinburgh.  We got talking about golf, and come to find out their daughter lived in Houston for a few years.  They also are dog lovers, and one of their dogs now is actually a similar breed to a greyhound (a lurcher?).  We stayed until 10pm drinking wine (which was served in half pint glasses, one glass of red almost knocked me on my ass . . . John had had 4 glasses) and chatting.  They invited me back to their flat which is just up the street from the B&B I'm staying in, and I got to meet the dogs.  Cider, the lurcher, looks very much like a greyhound but with much longer hair.  She only has three legs but she still moves like a Grey.  Marian brought out the "wee night cap" of whisky, and John extolled on why he likes blended whisky cut with water.  One for the road turned into three, and by 12:30 John was "right pissy" as he said later, and snoring in his chair.  I headed home understanding how to beat jetlag.  Before he had nodded off, John invited me to play golf with him at a links course down the coast called Dunbar.  I accepted, knowing I would have someone to play with tomorrow.  After 20+ hours awake and three drams of whisky, I was right and ready for sleep.  See you tomorrow at Dunbar!!!
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