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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.
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.
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.
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?
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 Kates 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 fishermans house, and explored a secret tunnel in which smugglers used to hide their booty!
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.
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.