Firth of ForthFriday 11th August 2000
Musselborough; WITH A BOW and raucous insistent calls, a juvenile Herring Gull standing on the grassy bank of the river, begs for food, without success while we were there, from an adult bird that stands 'knee'-deep in the shallow river, eyeing and pecking at the gravel, with an air of quiet concentration.
Tranent; We see, then smell Stinkhorn, growing on the grass verge by an old wooded railway cutting. It's usually the other way round; we catch its distinctive waft but don't see the stinkhorn. Three Bluebottles, two of them mating, are attracted by the carrion scent and the slimy coating of the honeycombed head of the fungus that carries the spores, which the flies, inadvertently, help spread.
Preston Pans; We walk down to the beach and sit on the edge of the concrete slipway. The twin chimneys of Cockenzie power station loom to the east while, to the west, looking up the Firth of Forth, there's a view of Edinburgh, where the towers of the city are dwarfed by the remnants of two ancient volcanoes; Arthur's Seat and Calton Hill.
The view of distant blue hills across the Firth makes me wish that I had the time to spend a few days in the highlands, which I haven't visited for years, not since I illustrated Whisky on the Rocks for Stephen Cribb.