Today we took the bikes to Musselburgh, just to the east of Edinburgh, for a cycle around Levenhall Links Leisure Park – an area of parkland and wetlands, reclaimed from the sea. There are several rough tracks criss-crossing the area, and while cycling along one of these we discovered a model boat race on one of the man-made ponds.
The modellers weren’t the only ones enjoying the water, there was also a bevy of swans floating around in search of food.
After sharing our lunch with the graceful birds, we continued along the track, joining the John Muir Way as it snakes its way around the coast. We had a view of the power station at Cockenzie (ash from which was used to create this area) but as we got closer to Prestonpans we noticed something far more interesting – a seal!
Lying on the just-submerged rocks of Little Ox, it was sunning itself as the water lapped around it. We cycled further around the coast and walked down onto the beach at The Cast, where a rocky outcrop at the end of the shore would allow us to get closer to the seal. We soon realised that there were two seals.
One stayed over by its sunspot, while the other came to have a good look at us. It was circling around the two sea sides of the rock we were perched on, diving down under the water then surfacing again in a new position. At its closest it was around 15 metres from us.
We stayed here for about an hour watching the inquisitive seal as it dived and swam on the current. It really was a treat to share an experience with an animal who seemed as curious about us as we were with it. Then we continued cycling along the John Muir Way, dropping down onto the concrete sea defences at Prestonpans.
Picking along the shore were groups of oystercatchers and curlews, hopping and wading their way through the rock pools.
With the sun starting to set, we turned around and headed back towards Levenhall Links, stopping briefly on the way to take a photo of the top of Prestongrange House, now home to the Royal Musselburgh Golf Club, poking through the trees.