‘My name is Claudea, and I stay in the heart of North Berwick. I have lived here now for two years, and I would not look back. The beach is a short walk from my door, and I feel extremely lucky to have such amazing scenery around me.
I suffer from anxiety, and I find that spending time outside, going on walks, and journaling helps me wind down and feel relaxed. I tend to take my notebook with me, and I find that photography and art is a great way to express my feelings.
Throughout lockdown, I have been much more active outdoors as this helps boost my mood and allows me time for myself – space away from reality. While exploring my town, I have found new places and different walks that I did not know about before! There are some lovely local businesses on the High Street, and I like to grab a takeaway coffee and enjoy the peace of nature around me.
In North Berwick, we have the beaches next to the Seabird Centre. Milsey Bay and West Bay beach, which you can walk along past the Marine Hotel, onto Yellow Craigs at Direlton. This can take a couple of hours – but once I had done this for the first time, I was so proud of myself. It is lovely to see various golfers out, lots of dogs, and if you are lucky, you might even experience a glance of a herring. Another walk I discovered takes you to a place called Drift, an upcycled café that sits on the edge of the coast. You can grab yourself a coffee and cake and take on the dunes of the beach on the way home. This walk has a fabulous view of the Bass Rock as well.
We also have what is called the John Muir Way, which has multiple trails that can lead you into the towns on the outskirts of North Berwick, and if you are feeling ambitious, you take on the North Berwick Law. Climbing up to the top and taking in the surreal views gives me a great boost of serotonin. On your way up the Law, you might also bump into the local Exmoor ponies!
Although I enjoy a good walk and hike on my own, it is also exciting to have a little companion with you. My golden boy Jockie, a fox red Labrador, has been such an uplifting presence in my day-to-day activities. Having an animal’s company makes me feel so happy and brings a different vibe to the walk ahead. After feeling a great number of achievements with my walking and testing myself, I have now taken it upon myself to complete the 100k in May challenge for a local charity. And, of course, Jockie will be joining me. Not only is this an amazing thing to do for a charity it also gives me a great sense of excitement and determination. Looking back this time last year, I would never have pictured myself taking on such a challenge. I did not have confidence in myself. But, with a little push and pep talks, I am hardly ever indoors these days. It just shows you that anything really is possible!’