Rural Notes 01



I have just returned from walking the Cotswold way with James Grant-Suttie, a farming client and friend from North Berwick. The Cotswolds are stunningly beautiful, with chocolate box villages and ancient oak and beech woods surrounding lush pastures, home to a surprisingly large number of healthy looking sheep and cattle.

Most striking though, was that for the entire 104 mile stretch, running the length of the county, the essential nature of the land did not change. It struck us that in East Lothian, we are blessed with an incredibly diverse number of landscapes, and that it would be impossible to walk 100 or so miles through our county without being exposed to a myriad of different views and land uses. From rugged heather moors on the Lammermuirs the land gives over to sheep and cattle pastures on the hillfoots, and then to mixed ground with woods and cereal fields appearing, and onto the largely cereal and potato fields around the River Tyne. North of this, towards the Firth, the land is fantastically mixed with combinations of all of the above and the addition of a myriad of golf courses and huge swathes of stunning dunes and magnificent coastline- sometimes rocky, sometimes cliff bound, and often sandy and expansive.

All these differing vistas are hugely accessible, and countless paths and walkways connect them to one another. We boast some real triumphs of rural access policies and credit must be given to our farmers, landowners and local authority alike, who have worked together to enhance the amenity value our county has for anyone interested in exploring the countryside delights on our doorstep. The John Muir way is a prime example of this, with an ever changing route of nearly 50 miles wending its way from Musselburgh to Cockburnspath. Part of this route is only 50 metres from my desk at home, and I see scores of people ambling along it on a daily basis. They all look very content, although by the time they come within my sight, they will also have spied a couple of pubs in which the opportunity to rest and refresh is only another couple of minutes walking or cycling!

It is of course always great fun to travel somewhere new, but on reflection, there is so much on our doorstep that it does make the adage that it’s even nicer to come home, all the more true. One point of note- we walked all those miles and summited 16 separate peaks and saw not one wind turbine. I cannot speculate on who has the better energy policy, but I think their skyline is less cluttered.


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Glen Watson
Partner at Links Vet Group