A WINTER stroll along golden beaches is a great way to fill the lungs with fresh air. This walk does that, as well as offering views out to sea, including the island of Fidra, which is said to have inspired Robert Louis Stevenson to write Treasure Island.
Starting in the picturesque village of Dirleton allows a glimpse of what lies behind this wonderful stretch of coast, including the village’s castle.
It is best to avoid high tide so you can stay on the beaches rather than walking on low dunes. Check tide times at www.ukho.gov.uk/easytide/
DISTANCE 4 miles (one way).
HEIGHT CLIMBED Negligible.
TIME 1∫ to 2 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 the road from the car park and walk in front of the pub, following a sign for Dirleton Gallery down Manse Road. Go straight ahead at a junction then bear right at a fork to pass a war memorial and reach the gallery. The road turns into a track shortly after the gallery; follow this between fields.
At a signpost go straight ahead, following a sign for Yellowcraig on to a slightly rougher track. The track bears right when it reaches a band of trees and turns into a path. Follow this as it joins a metal fence, which you keep to your left. Then, at a track near a car park and playground, go left.
Ignore a sign pointing right and walk through low dunes to Yellowcraig beach with Fidra and its lighthouse offshore.
Turn right and follow the beach, which leads round to the right and the long sweep of Broad Sands. This stretch of sand leads to a more rocky stretch where the coast turns left towards North Berwick. If the tide is in, or on the way in, you can clamber along the edge of the dunes at the end of Broad Sands to cross a wooden bridge over the Eel Burn, before continuing along the coast.
At this point you can follow a path above the beach but take care not to stray on to a golf course. Once around a low, grassy headland, a small beach leads to a jumble of rocks at another low headland (where you may wish to walk above the shore). You then reach the final beach with North Berwick beyond.
After about 300 yards, go up a slipway, then go straight on to follow Church Road to the town’s high street.
You can catch a bus back (the X24 or 124 – check www.travelinescotland.com or ring 0871 200 22 33 for bus times), but if it is fine you may wish to retrace your steps.
REFRESH North Berwick has a range of places and the Castle Inn, near the start in Dirleton, is a great pub.
WHILE YOU ARE IN THE AREA Dirleton Castle is well worth exploring. www.historic-scotland.gov.uk
The Scottish Seabird Centre offers interactive exhibitions as well as telescopes and webcams on Bass Rock. www.seabird.org