The town of North Berwick (pronounced Berrick) is a quaint, wonderful village that sits directly on the Firth of Forth.
It is the fourth stop on a 30-minute train ride from Edinburgh.
Looks every bit the part of an 18th century town. It is also home to one of the finest links courses in Scotland. North Berwick West Links, founded in 1832 it is links golf in the purest form. This was the second leg of our Scottish adventure.
Overcast skies and winds whipping 25-30 greeted us. Welcome to Scotland in all its windy glory.
Going out it was dead into the wind. The consolation was the coming home, it was all downwind.
It was a fight going out. Driver, three-wood, three-wood, knock down wedge into the par fives. It was a tough walk as well. What added to the flavor were townspeople walking their dogs, crossing many of the holes, heading for the beach. There were entire families with husband, wife, small children and an elderly woman who couldn’t have been a day under 80.
All sorts of dogs. The Scots LOVE their dogs, which rates them high in my book.
As we turned for home, you can see the amazing Isle of Fidra and its white lighthouse. It was where Robert Louis Stevenson played as a young boy and it would serve as the inspiration for his iconic novel — Treasure Island.
It was at the 12th hole where a miracle occurred. With Fidra on the horizon, I found myself 20 feet from the cup, putting for birdie.. Seriously? I think the lads at Ladbrokes had it a 300-1. Thought to myself, this is the best look you’ll have, don’t leave it short. Miraculously, the ball buried itself right in the hole. Looked down the Firth of Forth and there was a square rainbow in the sky. Had never seen that and I’m convinced my late father requested that. I know he’s with me out here.
The walk to 18 was wind-aided, more dogs, more townsfolk, plenty of large stone mansions.
Now here’s where it got really interesting.
Ron Burniske, the best player in our gang, scored a last-minute caddie.
His name was Pat McGinley and he told Ron he was a retired stockbroker. He is a club member as well, told Ron he will caddie because he loves to walk these links. As they played 17 and headed for 18, McGinley pointed out a house to Ron and casually dropped this: “I offered 1.1 million pounds for that house. I lost out to a lady who paid 1.6 million then tore it down and built a new one.”
At the end of their round, Pat told Ron that he need not pay him. Ron insisted otherwise and handed a generous fee to the millionaire looper.
The day couldn’t have been more memorable. The club secretary was amazing, as was everyone at North Berwick.
Will always remember this day.
In all ways.