North Berwick East Lothian Scotland
North Berwick East Lothian is 28 miles (45 klms) from Edinburgh a 45 minute drive or a 30 minute train ride. Once a small fishing village that has grown into a small town by the sea, with golden sand beaches, golf courses, great walks and historic places to visit. This was the holiday destination of Robert Louis Stevenson as his grandfather owned a house here. The two beaches at North Berwick during low tide.
North Berwick Law
North Berwick Law, Law is and ancient word for rounded hill. North Berwick Law is a Volcanic plug over 300 million years old as the Castle rock is in Edinburgh. The first evidence of buildings on the Law is a Iron Age Hill Fort and further buildings date from the mid 1500s, 1800s and 1900s The first whale bones were erected on the North Berwick Law in 1709. Berwick Law due to its position on the eat coast can be seen for 10s of miles, a good place to see it from is the Calton Hill in Edinburgh which shows how it was a important lookout for ships that were looking to invade Edinburgh. The hill is only just over 600 feet to the top 187 meters. The summit stone reads “live for the moment”.
Old St Andrew’s Kirk
St Andrew’s Kirk was a major site in the 12th century as pilgrims from all over Britain would visit this church prior to continuing their journey to St Andrews the home of Christianity in Scotland. It is thought that in the 12th century the Kirk was built by the Earl of Fife who owned the coastal lands around North Berwick as well as a castle that over looked the East Bay. It is said that a ferry that took pilgrims over the water landed at Earlsferry in Fife as the Queens ferry would travel across the water to the areas called Queensferry on the other side of Edinburgh. The pilgrims believed that all their sins would be forgiven and any illnesses healed if the prayed in-front of St Andrew’s bones. Circa 1590 it is said that 200 witches danced around Anchor Green while listening to the Devil preach from the pulpit. The witches were trying to summoned a store to sink the ships of James VI. The servant girl Gelie Duncan was tortured until she confessed to the happenings. Gelie Duncan and many others were burned at the stake in Edinburgh for their part in the ritual. The burial ground is where the present seabird centre stands now. When the old burial ground was excavated coffins were found dating bake over 300 years.
Tantallon Castle North Berwick
“The Ghost of Tantallon Castle” as all old Castles and houses the proverbial ghost is always in the wings so always be aware of strange winds and noises. There is doubt of when and who built the Castle but from records it is said that the Earl of Fife built St Andrew’s Old Kirk and lived in a motte and Bailey (Castle) that overlooked the east bay which would have been in the early part of the mid 1100s (1130 -1150). The Castle was bombarded by Cromwell’s troops in 1651 and finally after a long battle the Castle was surrendered to Cromwell and abandoned and has never been used since. This is the last medieval curtain wall castle to be constructed in Scotland. It was besieged by King James IV in 1491, and again by his successor James V in 1528, when extensive damage was done. Tantallon saw action in the First Bishops’ War in 1639, and again during Oliver Cromwell’s invasion of Scotland in 1651,
Robert Louis Stevenson Lane
Robert Stevenson the engineer and lighthouse builder had a summerhouse in North Berwick and his grandson Robert Louis Stevenson the Author and poet spent his summers in North Berwick. The locals have made a lane in the centre of the High Street a memorial to the Stevensons with pictures and writings and a mural on the walls of the lane.
Bird and Wildlife Centre
RNLI and Air Force Coastal Command
Two memorials to the long service of the people that watch out for all in distress at see The RNLI lifeboat Crews and the pilots of the Royal Air Force Coastal Command North Berwick East Lothian.
The Red Celtic Memorial Cross North Berwick
The red granite cross in front of the Seabird Centre is a memorial to Catherine Watson. The inscription reads: “Erected in memory of Catherine Watson of Glasgow, aged 19 who drowned in the East Bay, 27th July 1889 while rescuing a drowning boy. The child was saved, the brave girl was taken” It was created by her fellow art students. Following a drowning accident in 1889 Sir Walter Hamilton-Dalrymple initiated a subscription for a memorial cross to be erected on Anchor Green. The Red Granite Celtic Cross, with the inscription ‘ Erected in memory of Catherine Watson of Glasgow, aged 19 who drowned in the East Bay, 27th July 1889 while rescuing a drowning boy. The child was saved, the brave girl was taken.’ The memorial was designed by S. McGlashen in 1890.
The Hopetoun Monument is 95 feet (29 m) tall. Situated on Byres Hill near Haddington, the monument was erected in 1824 in memory of John Hope, 4th Earl of Hopetoun The foundation stone was laid on May 3, 1824. There is an inscription on the monument which states: “This monument was erected to the memory of the Great and Good John, Fourth Earl of Hopetoun by his affectionate and grateful tenantry in East Lothian. “MDCCCXXIV” 1824.
The Votadini an Iron Age Celtic tribe had lands with boundaries from the River Forth to the River Tyne (East and Central Scotland and Northumbria) with a central settlement at Traprain Law which was also became a Roman Settlement in the Haddington area. A treasure trove of Roman silver was found at Traprain in 1919 dating circa 415 AD which is the largest hacked-silver hoard found outside the Roman Empire. The Romans had a Cavalry Garrison at Inveresk in 142 AD which grew over the next 20 plus years to be a large Roman settlement (Vicus) covering a large area of what is now East Lothian. It is said to be the most extensive and best preserved Roman settlement in Scotland.
A scenic view of Traprain Law and Berwick Law with the Firth of Forth and Fife in the distance.
Fenton Tower derives its name from the lands it stands on lands of ‘Fentoun’. “During the reign of King David I of Scots (1124-1153).The present Fenton Tower was built circa 1575 by the Carmichael family who were the land owners at the time. Built with protect in mind as it is positioned to see in all directions. In 1591 King James VI of Scotland took refuge here. With the coming of Cromwell in 1650, Fenton Tower was attacked and left in ruins as many castles were. It remained unused until it was purchased in 1998 and the owners rebuilt the tower to its former glory to historic specifications.
Ben Sayers the golf company was founded in 1873 and is the oldest in the world. Ben Sayers was born in Fox Lane in Leith on the 23rd June 1856. He started making golf balls at the age of 20 he also player in many golf open championships. Ben’s wife was the only employee and made upto twelve dozen golf balls a day. Davie Strath a Scottish professional Golfer and ball maker died in 1879, his mould and ball making machine came up for auction, James Law bought it for Ben Sayers, which began a career in golf manufacturing. The first clubs Ben invented were the ‘Benny’ and ‘jigger’ In 1898 was when Ben Sayers described himself as a ‘golf club manufacturer’ prior to that he called himself a ball maker. Ben Sayers died in 1917 His life was golf playing and teaching royals and the gentry. Making clubs and balls opening golf clubs and designing golf courses worldwide. A man of great stature standing at 5′ 3″ tall (1.6 mtrs).
Three Islands @ North Berwick
The three islands of North Berwick are The Bass Rock Lamb and Craigleith all have their own story.
The Bass Rock
The Bass Rock is an island in the outer part of the Firth of Forth. It has been described by Sir David Attenborough as one of the 12 wildlife wonders of the world’. It is approximately 2 kilometres (1.2 miles) offshore. It is a steep-sided volcanic rock, 107 metres (351 foot) at its highest point. The rock is currently uninhabited, but historically has been settled by an early Christian hermit, Saint Baldred of Tyninghame was associated with The Bass Rock and later was the site of an important castle and also used as a prison. The island was in the ownership of the Lauder family for almost six centuries, and now belongs to Sir Hew Fleetwood Hamilton-Dalrymple. A lighthouse was constructed on the rock in 1902, and the remains of a chapel are located there. The Bass Rock features in numerous works of fiction, including Robert Stevenson’s Catriona and The Lion is Rampant by contemporary Scottish novelist Ross Laidlaw. The Bass Rock has more than 150,000 nesting Northern Gannets and is the largest single rock gannetry in the world. Boat Trips from North Berwick are available from the harbour. The white on the rock and the specs around the rock are birds.
This Island is found between the islands of Fidra and Craigleith. The island was bought by Uri Geller in 2009 for the sum of £30,000 (He believes that it hides Egyptian Treasure).
This Island can be found close to North Berwick’s harbour and its claim to fame was having the largest colony of Puffins in Britain numbering almost 30,000. It was also used in the breeding of rabbits for food.
Coastal Communities Museum
The Coastal Communities Museum in North Berwick covers the history of the area from the Romans and when it was part of Northumbria, the Cromwell invasion and the prison on the bass rock in the Jacobite times. The history of East Lothian is long and full of places to visit Castles, Roman Forts, Flight Museum , Birthplace of the Scottish Flag (Saltire).
Isabella Catherine Lewis 1939
Man with two faces sitting in a boat