Local

ALONG THE DUNES

5th April 2022

I’ve shared about this walk in two out of the last three posts here, which tells you something: we love this walk. This stretch of coastline between Yellowcraig and Gullane has become our favourite walk so far this year – after John Muir Country Park that is, as my second home will always hold a very special place for us.

But we keep coming back to this walk for its views, its variety – beaches, dunes, winding paths, rocky shores – and its quietness.

And also, as we’re moving away from winter into these longer spring days, this route gives us a few extra kilometres. We’ve been slowly extending our weekend walks to challenge Harris and Bracken and get them into spring fitness after our more restricted winter adventures (who am I kidding? – get us all into spring fitness) and this is the stretch of coastline to do this, particularly as chasing up and down sand dunes is a workout whether you’re a shorter-legged hound or a long-legged human. On this particular walk we started at Yellowcraig and headed west towards Gullane.

This is the Fortress of Solitude cave that’s located just above Eyebroughy beach, although you could easily walk along this stretch of beach and never notice it – as we had done several times before scanning the rock formations looking for this spot. I didn’t venture inside – I’m very claustrophobic so caves definitely aren’t an option (if I can’t do a lift then I’m certainly not attempting a cave exploration) – but I did find this reference on another blog called My Search For Magic where the writer had done so, having first explored another cave nearby, and wrote:

‘This cavern is far more interesting, its depths hidden in dark shadows, cold water dripping from the low roof. A squat wall of indeterminate age covers half of the entrance, supporting a rather precarious rock outcrop. Archaeological investigations in the cave have uncovered evidence of human habitation dating back to the Iron Age, with Roman pottery, spearheads and a quern stone suggesting that this place has a long, if rather mysterious history.’

The highlight of this spot for us is, of course, this beach. We perched on a log at the far end to take in the view before walking on along the dunes beyond. This was a walk of golden dunes and blue skies.

Eyebroughy island (above) is located around 200m off the shore, and having read about this tidal island, it’s always looked so far from shore whenever we’ve walked here that we’ve wondered how it could ever be accessible. And then, two weekends back, the tide was almost low enough – there was about 3m of water between the island and the beach. It was incredible seeing this beach and this island from a new perspective.

I think this also highlights why we don’t tire of this coastline: each of these walks can feel so different depending on the weather (obviously), the shifting light, and the tides.

Since we first walked along Eyebroughy beach last year, we’ve wondered about this cairn. There isn’t a plaque to explain its significance here, but it’s a striking presence above the shoreline. I found this post on Facebook from Loving East Lothian explaining the history of this cairn, which was commissioned by the Douglas-Hamilton family as a memorial to the 15th Duke of Hamilton. There’s a spy hole that frames the lighthouse on Fidra (a clever touch), while the propeller came from one of the Duke’s biplanes and points towards a landmark in Fife that he used for navigation. The piece was constructed by East Coast Gardens. What a great history to this piece.

Yellowcraig to Eyebroughy and beyond, March 2022

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