Field lanes bordered by banks of red poppies then, dunes and a golden beach followed by rock pools and sandy bays, with waves lapping the shore.
East Lothian’s coast is one of the most stunning in Britain yet overlooked. Take time to explore the nooks and crannies along the way, pack a picnic or just gaze out at the islands in the Forth. This walk is one to clear the mind and enjoy the great landscapes on our doorstep.
DISTANCE 8 miles. HEIGHT CLIMBED 130ft. TIME 3 to 4 hours. MAP OS Landranger 66. PARK There is a free car park in the centre of Dirleton, off the B1345, opposite the Castle Inn pub.
IN SUMMARY Cross from the car park and walk in front of the pub, following a sign for Dirleton Gallery. Go straight at a junction then right at a fork to the gallery where the road becomes a track between fields.
At a signpost go straight ahead, following a sign for Yellowcraig on to a rougher track. The track bears right at a band of trees and turns into a path. Follow this, keeping a metal fence to your left. At a track near a car park and playground go left through low dunes to Yellowcraig beach.
Go left and at the end of the beach follow the coast. (This walk is best at low tide to explore the rock pools. See news.bbc.co.uk/weather/coast_and_sea/tide_tables.)After a rocky section, a wide, sandy bay is reached with Marine Villa at the end. It is easier to take the path above the rocky shore but erosion means you have to go back to sea level – not advisable at high tide.
After the rocks, a wide bay leads to dunes (a path above the shore is now resumed). Follow the coast round the dunes, along a small bay, and another dune path leads to a view of the next section of coast – a series of sandy bays. Follow these to the end of a fairly large bay with pine trees above it. Climb to some ruins and follow the shoreline to Gullane Bay.
Follow the beach for almost two-thirds of a mile where a gap in the dunes (next to an emergency line) leads to a car park. Exit left and at the top leave Marine Terrace and go right along a road. On reaching Gullane’s Main Street go left. There’s a bus back to Dirleton or, to follow the John Muir Way, go out of town and past fields.
At a cottage look for a John Muir Way sign pointing down a path through trees to a road you cross and turn left. At another John Muir Way sign go right on to a track that turns into a lane, taking you back to Dirleton. At the end of the lane go right past the pub to the car park.
REFRESH The Castle Inn and gallery café are good.
WHILE YOU ARE IN THE AREA Dirleton Castle is worth a visit for its fortress appearance and gardens.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Wednesday 22 May 2013
Temperature: 3 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 5 C to 11 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: North west