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North Berwick - A Brief History

North, Berwick, is a small Scottish Burgh which was given the Royal Charter in 1373. The town snuggles round two sandy bays, separated by a rocky promontory, where the harbour and the Scottish Seabird Centre lie back to back.

At the harbour in years past, the grain and potatoes from the surrounding countryside were stored in the two granaries before being shipped out in small brigs. One of the old granaries now houses the E.L.Y.C. Clubhouse.


Behind the town the volcanic cone of North Berwick Law rises 613 feet and if you have enough energy left after a hard day’s racing, a climb to the summit will be rewarded by a panoramic view of the Forth Estuary and the Kingdom of Fife, and the rich farmland of East Lothian to the south.


Offshore there is a necklace of the four islands, Fidra, Lamb, Craigleith and the most famous of them all, the Bass Rock. The volcanic plug rises 360 feet straight out of the sea with sheer cliffs all round. During the summer it is home to 100,000 breeding pairs of Gannets (Solan Goose or to give it its Latin name Sula Bassana).

Now there are only seabirds living on the rock, but it had a stormy past and the ruined fortress on the south side served as a prison for Covenanters and the later French prisoners during the Napoleonic Wars.

Bass Rock

The pleasure boats including Sula II make several trips each day to take passengers round the Bass with a most informative commentary throughout the trip. Sula II also makes visits to Fidra. On shore opposite Fidra is Yellowcraigs Nature Park with woodlands, sand dunes and beach.

To the south of Yellowcraigs lies the beautiful village of Dirleton with its ruined castle and well kept gardens.

To the East of the town, on a promontory 200 feet above the sea stands Tantallon Castle. This most spectacular building was never captured until after the battle of Dunbar, when Cromwell blew up parts of it. He destroyed Dirleton Castle and Dunbar Castle at the same time - not a popular man in East Lothian.

All other visitors are welcome, however, and we hope you will enjoy your stay as competitor or supporter.

Tantallon Castle



East Lothian Yacht Club | 36-40 Victoria Road | The Harbour | North Berwick | East Lothian | EH39 4JL

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