THIS time a year ago I enjoyed an ice-cream from a van next to a beach in North Berwick – it was my birthday and I was at the seaside.
However, I was not alone and had to queue to get served – which goes to show that getting out and about in the winter is not such a bad idea as long as you wrap up warm.
North Berwick is a great place to head for strolls, long and short, along the sands. With winter waves crashing down on shore it can be an exhilarating way to kick off the year. And with the John Muir Way just inland it is possible to create a circular walk.
DISTANCE 6 miles.
HEIGHT CLIMBED Negligible.
TIME 2 to 3 hours.
MAP OS Landranger 66.
PARK There are a number of car parks in North Berwick and a regular train from Edinburgh.
Head west, down North Berwick’s High Street and turn right into Church Road. At the bottom a small slipway leads to the beach, where you go left and follow the shoreline. When the tide is high you can follow a path at the top of the beach to get around a series of small rocky outcrops before reaching a long stretch of beach, Broad Sands.
Follow this for about two-thirds of a mile where the coast bears west (left) to reach Yellowcraig beach.
You can retrace your steps from here or follow the John Muir Way back to North Berwick. To do the latter, leave Yellowcraig beach about two thirds of the way along it (about 30 yards before a small box containing a rescue line) and follow a path over the low dunes.
Before you reach trees leave the hard-surface path and go left, following a John Muir Way sign. A broad grass path runs behind the dunes, bearing right and joining an old stone wall. After passing some dramatically windblown pines continue ahead to another John Muir Way sign. Don’t take the path on the right, into woodland, but do bear slightly right to follow a track/path across open ground to a gate on the edge of woodland.
Go through the gate and follow a path in the wood to reach another gate. Go through this and follow a sign pointing left, across a field. On the other side of the field go through a gate and follow a path by a wall. This leads behind cottages and paddocks before turning right to reach a road. Go left, along the road. Ignore a turning to the right and after a slight rise go left at a junction. At the end of the road a path leads behind houses and along the edge of a golf course.
The John Muir Way then takes you right, up a road. Take the first left (Cromwell Road) and at a crossroads go straight ahead, into York Road.
Look for a sign pointing left, down another road to the golf course. At the bottom go right to follow the edge of the course to a clubhouse, which you pass in front of.
Cross a green to return to the bottom of Church Road in North Berwick from where you retrace your steps to the start.
The Scottish Seabird Centre has a great café but otherwise North Berwick has a wide choice to suit all tastes. You can normally get an ice cream from a van near the Seabird Centre all year round.
WHILE YOU ARE IN THE AREA
The Scottish Seabird Centre at North Berwick is a top attraction with an interactive exhibition and binoculars and telescopes on hand to see the birdlife.