If you live in Scotland, native or not, you have to be made of sterner stuff.
In fact, I’ve long believed our “Made from girders” attitude is what makes us the only nation in the world who can truly thrive and not just survive in near constant cold, wet and miserable weather – something I mostly definitely had confirmed on a recent trip to Portobello.
Walking down the seaside town’s beautiful promenade, I stopped to look out at the choppy waves and noticed something bobbing up and down in the water. No, not something. Someone!
Right there in the freezing Forth Estuary, decked out in a swimcap and wetsuit, an intrepid adventurer had decided to swim a few lengths as if it was the local baths.
I stood, mesmerised, by this sub-zero mermaid, who seemed impervious to the wind chill, and, rather, almost invigorated by it.
I must admit, I worked up quite an appetite just watching this icy swimmer, and decided it was time to set off in search of my own exercise.
Lifting a fork from plate to mouth really is good weight training, so my years as the Scone Spy haven’t gone to waste. Well, maybe to my waistline, but that’s by the by.
Nestled on the beachfront, the aptly named The Beach House is the type of cafe you would expect to find in a more exotic locale, with sky-blue walls, whitewashed wood, mismatched furniture and driftwood detailing cementing the laid-back seaside charm.
Tables are available outside but with my frost-bitten ears still smarting, I opted to retreat into the warmth of the cosy dining room, ordering a steaming hot coffee and a cheese scone before my bottom even hit the seat.
Although busy and bustling, the table service was impeccable.
Eyeing the lunch menu I was pleased to find a range of tasty filled sandwiches, as well as soup, salads and paninis (fancy cheese toasties to you and me), and although fuss-free and simple, the ingredients are first-rate, with the kitchen using fresh organic and locally sourced produce.
Some of the dishes even use herbs and salad leaves grown in the café’s own small garden.
Once I regained dexterity in my frozen fingers, slicing into the perfectly plump scone revealed a light and crumbly centre, which melted in the mouth. Served alongside a spreading of Marmite, I scooped up every crumb with gusto. Simply delicious.
A range of other baked goods, sweet treats and even homemade gelato are also on offer, but my simple scone was just enough to see me fighting fit and ready to tackle the weather again.
In fact, my visit was so fortifying I almost considered popping on a swimsuit and plunging into Costa del Portobello to see what all the fuss is about.
But then again I prefer to find ice in my gin and tonic, rather than growing on the end of my nose, so perhaps I’ll stick to dry land…
The Beach House, 57 Bath Street, Portobello, Edinburgh, EH15 1HE
Warm and friendly from efficient staff working in lovely surroundings. 9/10
On the beachfront with stunning views across the water. 9/10
Light, fluffy and superbly savoury. 9/10