Thursday, 1 October 2015


It has been an interesting week here in Portobello, the seaside suburb of the city of Edinburgh.

Here we are at the start of October and we're getting temperatures of 20 degrees (68F). After a poor summer this has been a welcome change.

This encouraged large crowds to gather on the beach to soak up the late rays, for sporty types to take to the calm waters and for a historic event on Saturday 26 September.

My friend Pauline owns a kayak and most days after work she was out on the sea, paddling up and down the one mile long beach shoreline. The local sailing club also launched an armada of all varieties of boats, from little sail dinghies to large rowing skiffs.

Then there was an historic moment on one day. Across the bay from the beach, eight miles east of Edinburgh, is a coal-fired power station at a coastal town called Cockenzie. Construction was completed in 1967 but was closed down in 2013. Last year demolition work began and at midday on 26 September, explosives wrapped around the base of the two towering chimneys were detonated and they collapsed in spectacular style, in front of an audience that literally covered the beach. Thousands of people came to watch. It looked as if it was happening in slow motion, so huge are the chimneys. Slowly they leaned toward each other before kissing at the top then destroying each other as they came together. I filmed the spectacle and you can see it by clicking on this link.

It has been suggested that so dominant were the chimneys that migrating birds used it as a landmark. Time will tell if this affects our feathered friends in the future.

Finally, on Tuesday, we were treated to a "super moon". This is when the moon is closest to the earth, but on this occasion there was also a lunar eclipse as the earth came between the sun and the moon, creating a sunset-red colour on the surface, hence the name "blood moon". But there was another consequence for this close proximity of the full moon the following morning. To my great surprise the sea had receeded to twice it's normal distance.

I was able to walk out to an orange bouy that normally looks far out at sea. As the tide reached it's lowest point it revealed three large wooden posts.

Research so far has not unearthed what they were in the past. Some have suggested they are the remains of an old pier for a leisure craft called the Skylark in the 60s, but this took place further along the beach. Some think they may be old supports for when sewage was pumped directly out to sea, but I doubt they would have been made from timber. The mystery continues and conditions are predicted not to come together again to create these tides until 2033, the last being in 1982.

The warm sunshine continues, a perfect remedy as I continue the recovery from my scare last week.

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