I recently drove up the East Coast of Scotland and had a walk around North Berwick. This seaside town has a vibrant centre and a long sandy sea front that is dominated by some wonderful ‘Links’ golf courses.
However just a little way north there is a a beautiful beach at Gullane with a large car park that has the bay in front and parkland behind where a deer moved quietly in the long grass.
In the sand dunes there is a part called ‘Murder Hill’ which has a football relevance.
This hill is known to generate fear in most footballers in Scotland.
Whereas now it is more usual for a team to jet off to a warm training camp in Europe, Dubai or a tour in Australia or the USA, back in the 1960’s it was Murder Hill for Heart of Midlothian F.C. to set a trend in using the sand dunes to get season ready. The name Murder Hill comes from the gruelling training, running up and down the hill often carrying team mates on their backs or heavy objects. It also generated great team spirit as they encouraged and helped mates get through the ordeal, the down often as hard after the ascent.
But it was Rangers manager Jock Wallace who made it famous and took it to greater agony with vigorous training that left players breathless and exhausted. When Wallace moved on to Kilmarnock he took Murder Hill trips with him and it has also been used by Airdrie, Dunfermline and Raith Rovers as well as a host of Junior and local teams. Hearts are noted to have used it as recently as 2018.
So if you are strolling on this beautiful beach don’t be surprised to see sane people struggling up and down the sand.
I’m sure that these days most players would rather be in this area known as Scotland’s ‘golf coast’ honing their golf skills.
N.B. I have to own up to not attempting to walk up the hill. The few spots of rain and circling black clouds were my excuse!