The penultimate cycling stage is on today's agenda with the goal of North Berwick. The way leads along the so-called Golf Coast, which sounds strange when I review my journey and the number of played and passed places in my head.

Nevertheless, the name is not completely inappropriate, as the density of important places in the area is exceptionally high. Besides North Berwick West Links, Gullane #1 (there are two more 18-hole courses) and above all the legendary and exclusive Muirfield are certainly the main attractions. But also besides these classic celebrities there is a lot to choose from: For friends of new places the Renaissance Club would be a possibility. However, one that is not so common in life if you are not a member or guest of a member in this club. Because the offer, which the club submits, is not named by chance "One Time Experience". Every non-member is allowed to play the course once per life. That sounds like a nice gesture if you weren't asked to pay 250 pounds for the round. In my opinion, this is a rather silly form of artificial exclusivity. The rigorous isolation of Cypress Point, Augusta and others is somehow more honest. Coming from Edinburgh there is an outstanding piece of history at the beginning of the tour: The Old Course in Musselburgh was long regarded as the oldest golf course in the world where people still played. Obviously this has now been revised and the Grail guardians of the world records, Guiness World Records, have now conceded the title to the - certainly more marketable - Old Course in St. Andrews. Anyway, the small course in Musselburgh, which is not very pretty from today's point of view, is one of the three courses that formed the first rota on which the British Open was held, the other two were St. Andrews and Prestwick. In some way, the topic of which course is the oldest still seems to have some effect, because the course's website still has the title in the headline and in the depths of the Internet there are still pages from 2009 to be found that indicate that Musselburgh has just been awarded the title by Guiness. Hm, about two sentences ago I started to bore myself with my text. Where is Guido Knopp (German TV historian)? I'm sure that this could produce an excellent and memorable evening entertainment.

Back to topic: The Golf Coast of Scotland is the area with the most world class courses in Scotland, along with the St Andrews area on the other side of the Firth of Forth, which I described in the previous articles, and Ayrshire (Prestwick, Troon, Trumpberry, etc.). Perhaps the area around Inverness can still keep up, too, but be that as it may, the thrilling title is not entirely out of the air.

Anyway, I drove off in Edinburgh that day, had breakfast and gave the rain the opportunity to develop some strength. On the already mentioned beautiful cycle paths around Edinburgh it went quite well, because they are often sheltered by trees. However, with each meter other obstacles rose: People wearing skirts. Not every one of them had a particularly high quality piece with their own ancient family clantartan, some had also decided on a frottee variant from the local laundry shelf. But most of them wore a T-shirt. And it was written on it: Kiltwalk Edinburgh 2018. What at first seemed to be a rather accidental accumulation of tradition-conscious walkers in typical national costumes, then at some point took on the proportions of medium-sized, broad-based running events in the endurance sector. This was accompanied by a significant amount of rain, so that the second coffee after breakfast seemed a good idea.

On the picture I sit in the dry and the skirted hikers are indicated in the enlargement:

In the café that I found when the desire for dryness and warmth was just growing strong in me, I saw a calorie bomb that even I consider to be alarming to ignite: Two quite slim young ladies both ate a considerable portion of Turkish baklava. I think that's risky - just to remember: puff pastry is saturated with sugar syrup, other roles are played by various nuts. But to add a double portion of cream to the mix really earned my respect.
Shortly afterwards I continued and the mass of kilt bearers who took part in this fun run for charitable purposes swallowed me up again as I rolled along the beach promenade of the Leith district.

Another proof of the density of great golf courses in this region was when I saw the signs pointing to the Scottish Senior Open. As I passed the third sign, I realized that the tournament was not only on that day, but also right on my way. The Craigielaw Golf Club hosted the Staysure Tour players. I was happy to stop for a few minutes to convince myself once again that medal play is only an attractive sport to watch under very specific circumstances. But of course it was fun, because no question: The guys here took seriously what they were doing and obviously they could hit a good ball, even if I didn't stay up to the leading groups.

I continued through Gullane, where I unfortunately missed the turn-off to the legendary prestigious Muirfield due to a race with another cyclist scheduled at short notice. But even without this often praised course you can hardly miss Golf in Gullane. Similar to Carnoustie or St. Andrews, the whole town is essentially dedicated to this one theme. Three courses, two of which were already built in the 19th century and the third one is also playable for a few years already and was opened in 1910, belong to the local club. From here it was only a few pedal turns until I arrived at my destination.

North Berwick is a nice town with six and a half thousand inhabitants. At first sight, the place looks like a holiday resort for wealthy Edinburghers looking for recreation - or whatever the name of the inhabitants of the city may be. In fact, it is precisely this circumstance, which emerged in the 19th century and which is due to the two beautiful bays that the town has, that is responsible for the construction of the golf courses of the town. The famous West Links was opened in 1832. But more about this and about my qualification round for the West Links on the East Links, The Glen in the next article.

Today I just sing a serenade as an award. And what else should it be than the hit of the great Udo Juergens?

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