Linda and I met for lunch the other day and ended up driving down the East Lothian coast, alongside the Firth of Forth. East Lothian is pretty flat with occasional hills that are actually prehistoric volcanic plugs. There is Berwick Law, just to the south of North Berwick – not Berwick-upon-Tweed – which I know I have mentioned before. At the top there is a whale’s jawbone arch, now preserved with resin.
North Berwick is a small town with harbour, and two beaches, that was a favourite Victorian holiday resort. Big villas have grown up round the bay, and you can almost imagine the signs advertising Guest House or Family hotel above the front doors! There’s the mound where an ancient castle once stood, and at the far end of the bay, the golf course which is where I took the above left panorama. Out in the Firth of Forth are several small islands, Craigleith being the most prominent one here. Apparently it is a lava dome! Well, most, if not all, of the high ground around this area is of volcanic origin. The Bass Rock is the most famous, being home of the largest island gannet colony in the world, and being mentioned in literature, e.g. Catriona, by Robert Louis Stevenson. The Scots name for the gannet is solan goose.
After admiring the views and taking photos, it felt like time for tea and the tearoom at Smeaton Garden Centre was to be our next port of call, but we got a bit bamboozled with the roads out of North Berwick and found ourselves on the road east towards Tantallon Castle instead. Built in the 1350s it is probably the most complete castle ruin in Scotland.; and was home of the Douglas family, Earls of Angus, once the most poweful baronial family in Scotland It is built right on the edge of a promontary with the sea below and is pretty spectacular. Here’s another view from the same side but with the Bass in the distance. I’ve never visited the castle but it’s on the list for a 2012 summer’s day. The Bass too!
Last time we were here this field was filled with an almost ripe crop of barley. It was the view from our table as we drank our tea. Nothing growing yet, but I daresay it will be soon.
From the photos you’ve seen, I expect you’ve realised how flat East Lothian is, but that means there’s plenty of sky. It was wonderful (though I have to say I do like a few hills on my horizon normally)!
Talk again soon.