Scottish walks: Dirleton's beaches, East Lothian

Dirleton is a great Sunday afternoon kind of village with its castle, green and country pub. You wouldn't really want to leave it when the sun is shining, except for the fact that there are two wonderful beaches a short walk away '“ Yellowcraig and Broad Sands.

Yellowcraigs. Picture: Nick Drainey
Yellowcraigs. Picture: Nick Drainey

A stroll out of Dirleton, past farmland and on to the sand, is a great way to work off a Sunday lunch. Returning through a band of woodland further enhances the natural beauty of this spot.

Of course, you don’t have to have your lunch in Dirleton, there is always the option of packing a picnic, a bucket and spade and maybe some swimming gear if the weather is being kind. Either way, this a lovely corner of Scotland to spend some time in.

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Distance 3½ miles.

Height climbed Negligible, except a clamber up a sand dune.

Time 1½ to 2 hours.

Map OS Landranger 66.

Park There is a 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 to go down Manse Road. Go straight ahead at a junction then bear right at a fork to pass a war memorial. The road then turns into a track which you follow 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.

A couple of hundred yards along Broad Sands go right, just before the top of the dunes become covered with bushes. A small sandy path goes up the dunes, with the bushes to your left.

At the top keep heading in the same direction, ignoring grass paths going off to either side, and drop down to a flat meadow. Once past a few widely spaced, small pines, go right to reach a wooden boardwalk. A short way along it – before a John Muir Way signpost – go left, on to a grass path.

Keep straight on as the path enters woodland, then gradually bear right to reach a road which leads the short way to the car park near Yellowcraig. Go to the top of the car park and follow the path to the left back to Dirleton.

Refresh The Castle Inn, near the start in Dirleton, is a good pub.

While you are in the area Dirleton Castle is worth exploring, The Scottish Seabird Centre offers interactive exhibitions as well as telescopes and webcams on Bass Rock,