Order Tara's Bicycle Touring Cookbook Today!

The Cove

by Tara

StumbleUpon Readers: Please click here for a message!

We awoke to the sound of wind and saw that it had been raining all night. Instead of dampening our spirits too much, the weather made it slightly amusing for us trying to pack everything up. I yelled to Tyler (over the roar of the wind) that I wondered what mysteriously wonderful thing would happen to us today.

Tent flying away

The wind rapidly dried our tent, and we had fun preventing everything from blowing off into the Firth of Forth toward Bass Rock. Frigid and windy to the point of absurdity, we finally finished piling everything on our bikes, and set off for the day.

With our rain coats on, we quickly warmed up and riding was surprisingly comfortable, albeit windy. I actually got blown over into the ditch! No harm done though; the scenery was so beautiful it was hard to care about anything else.

We stopped often to take pictures, and hopped off our bikes in Whitekirk to explore an old graveyard adjacent to a church. Seeing us poking around, a very nice old Scottish lady (as usual) came to say hello and let us into the church with her key. We thanked her and she left us alone to admire the very, very old stone chapel. Tyler played the piano for a little while and I sat in the pews and admired the architecture.

Whitekirk Graveyard

When we arrived in East Linton around noon, we decided to stop for lunch. We leaned our bikes against a tea-room called Votadini, and walked inside. Two elderly Scottish women were cooking made-to-order food and there was a wood stove burning to keep us warm! I ordered a cup of tea and the chicken pie; Tyler had the "macaroni cheese." While we were waiting for our food, we plugged in our computer and Tyler got some work done as it charged. Our hats and gloves dried by the fire, and we had a delicious home-cooked lunch.


By the time we left, the sun had come out and it had turned into an absolutely magnificent day. We rode a mile or so to see the Preston Mill. It was beautiful and funky looking, and seemed like somewhere Merlin the sorcerer would live. So cool! We wandered all around it and along the stream running through the area.

Preston Mill Preston Mill Wheel

We decided to bike as far as Cockburnspath but when we got there, there were no accommodations of any kind. We retraced our pedal-strokes a bit, following signs towards a campsite in Cove. When we arrived, we discovered the campsite was closed. Unsure of what to do next, we walked along a path for a bit, winding our way past a couple of cottages, admiring some incredible views of the ocean.

We were stopped to look at a particularly breathtaking scene when an old woman left her home to poke around in her garden. Tyler walked over and asked if she knew of a campground nearby, or a place we could set up our tents. She pointed out along the path by the ocean and said to set up anywhere. Tyler asked if anyone would mind, and she said "no one will mind but for me and Dougie!" Maybe she and "Dougie" are the only inhabitants of Cove, Scotland?

Happy Tyler Setting up Camp in Cove, Scotland Assembling the tent Campsite

I cannot even describe how beautiful our campsite was; it was absolutely unreal and the sun and sky were perfect. We camped on the edge of a steep cliff overlooking the craggy cove. A family walked by our campsite as we were setting up and we talked for a bit. It was Kate, her children Jess and Ella, and her father, Max, who were taking a family vacation to the area where Kate’s mother had grown up. They encouraged us to take a walk down the path to the smugglers cove. We did, and were again speechless at the incredible beauty of this place. We combed a rocky beach, walked by an old fisherman’s house, and explored a secret tunnel in which smugglers used to hide their booty!

Fish House The Cove The Cove The Cove

We met Kate and her family down in the cove once more, and they asked us if we wanted some chili and rice for dinner. As if that was even a QUESTION! Of course we would love some chili and rice! We went back to our campsite and set about making an apple pie in our oven, hoping that our new friends would remember to bring food! Sure enough they came tromping back along the path from their rented cottage, this time with Aunt Sue. They brought us a massive Tupperware FULL of chili, rice, and two cheese-filled baked potatoes. They said that if we brought the dishes back, we could take showers at their guest-house! It really could not have been more perfect.

Tara Cooking

After scarfing down all of their delicious chili, we walked over to their guest-house and brought our apple pie to share. We took glorious hot showers and spent an interesting evening hanging out with Sue, Max, Jess, and Ella, talking, drinking wine, playing cards, and waiting for our clothes to dry. Thanks guys!! It was almost midnight when we walked back home (wearing our trusty head-lamps) and settled in for the coziest, most-comfortable night thus far.

Tara & Tyler
Previous Entry
Hitting our Stride
In Years Past and Future
2010 - Strawberries


Tara & Tyler - it is such a delight to read your writings and SEE your experience. The next best thing to first-hand. What fun and it must be, and I can feel your joy in making friends everywhere you go, having adventures, and being 'out there' on the edge - literally.

Love you and continued safe travels.
Posted by Mark on April 9th, 2009 at 11:53 AM
You two are really blessed. You have met such interesting people and it's just your first week on the trail. Stay well and enjoy. Love ya. GM
Posted by The Mathman on April 9th, 2009 at 9:09 PM
Awesome pics and writing!! Have fun!

how are you posting all of this stufF? you have wifi or cell internet?
Posted by lian on April 10th, 2009 at 1:49 AM
we have a cellular wireless 'pay as you go' with http://www.three.co.uk and it is really, REALLY cheap! Hopefully they have something like it in France or our posting frequency will drop quite a bit in a month or so.
Posted by Tyler on April 10th, 2009 at 3:18 AM
This is amazing--the photos are gorgeous. Tara, I particularly like the photo of the home that Merlin would have most definitely lived in (at least in a Disney version of the story)!
Posted by Julia on April 11th, 2009 at 10:54 AM
This trip looks wonderful! If you are ever looking for a short trip, Newfoundland Canada is amazing! This summer me and my family took an overnight ferry there and we spent two weeks. The scenery is beautiful! And we got to see lots of puffins
Posted by Charlotte on January 14th, 2012 at 5:01 PM
Oooh, thanks for the advice, Charlotte! When we move to Vermont, we won't be *that* far away from Newfoundland. I'd love to see lots of puffins...
Posted by Tara on January 18th, 2012 at 9:28 AM
Hi, I've been glued to the archives of your blog these past few days. I started in Mongolia and then had to come back to see where it all started! I just wanted to comment to remark (and maybe you discover this later on in the chapter) that Scotland has Right to Roam -- meaning you're pretty much allowed to wild camp anywhere you'd like provided you're not being destructive/disruptive. Not much use to you now, I suppose, but maybe some other reader will find it helpful info!

For that matter, the wireless provider Three now offers (truly) unlimited 3G on their pay-as-you-go for only 15 quid a month, an even better deal than what you had in 2008!
Posted by Spencer on November 29th, 2012 at 3:57 AM
I found it so cool you included a section for your stumbleupon readers! I'm pretty jealous of this trip it sounds like you two had a really good time.
Posted by Danni on December 12th, 2017 at 5:18 AM