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[This was a day trip from Edinburgh to Dunbar on the southeast coast, bordering the North Sea. We took the bus, about an hour’s drive, to sample a traditional music festival. It was a sparkling morning, although we took note of how low the sun was in the sky due to our northern latitude. The harbor was peaceful, interrupted occasionally by the lubdubdub of a two-cycle engine. The air was crisp and oxygen-rich, tainted slightly by the smell of gas, but the smell of gas when it smells good.
The harbor entrance is fortressed by the ruins of a castle, still protective in its crumbled state. Nearby is a volunteer lifeboat station, one of the many that dot the coast of Britain. The pub overlooking the harbor is the Volunteer Arms, a second story establishment this is both a fine restaurant and music venue. We were befriended by a trio of sailors who had come in from their nearby island home and were all enjoying a wee dram of single malt.
“What part of America are you from,” one of them asked me, although I had not yet spoken a word. “What tipped you off that I’m American?” I asked. “Yer hat,” he responded pointing to the tweed cap I had purchased the day before, thinking it helped me blend in with the natives.
Dunbar is also the birthplace of John Muir, who travelled to the redwood forests of California to establish himself as one of the founders of the environmental movement. We toured a small museum in the home he left behind. My memory of Dunbar will always be of a place with salt in the air and music everywhere. SB SM]