For the majority of her 5 years of life so far, Audrey and I have lived as far away from the coast as you can in the UK (Birmingham and the West Midlands). So once we moved up here, I was determined to make the most of it, and Audrey’s favourite hobby got upgraded from rolling in fox poop to rolling on dead birds. Good times indeed! We love Seacliff so much that it sneaked a mention in my Pawfect Weekend interview last week.
East Lothian is blessed with a spectacular coastline, and somehow, all of these individual beaches retain a unique vibe. Since arriving, Audrey and I have found these beaches ideal for perfecting the #rocktrait poses that we have become borderline obsessed with on Instagram. Here is my favourite rock trait from Seacliff on Sunday.
Seacliff is a privately owned beach, and plenty of people don’t even know it’s there. As such, I felt it warranted a post here on Blog On A Dog. It is only a beach, with no cafe or any other facilities so I won’t score it like I have other attractions. Safe to say, it’s a lovely secluded beach that is off the beaten path, and definitely worth a visit.
I can’t tell you that the long private drive to get down to Seacliff beach is a particularly well maintained road, more of a winding, bumpy descent. Perhaps it adds to the charm and ‘hidden’ feel of the place. Unless you have poor suspension in your car, then I imagine some not so charming words may be forthcoming. There is an unmanned barrier, with a machine gladly accepting your pound coins (three of them to be precise), before you begin your descent. The road winds down though the estate, and towards the end you turn a corner and are met with a sweeping vista of Bass Rock, and an untouched curve of golden beach.
Seacliff lies 4 miles east of my beloved North Berwick, and includes an estate, a beach and a harbour thought by many to be the smallest in the United Kingdom. The estate has a fascinating history, including during World War 1 when it was a top secret research base for the Royal Navy. Seacliff House was gutted by a fire in 1907, and all that remains today is the exterior, which you can catch glimpses of though the trees from the beach. The harbour at Seacliff is thought to be the smallest in the United Kingdom. You can find out more about the history of Seacliff here.
Will I Learn My Lesson?
I’ll be honest with you, our morning didn’t have the most promising start. I took two photos with my DSLR, and then that dreaded sign popped up: memory card full. As much as my photography has improved, my storage skills most definitely have not! I’m not exaggerating when I say I probably have about 5 different copies of every photo in different locations. I really need to address this as a priority, it’s getting a bit ridiculous now. Due to this lack of a professional level storage system, I have kept my favourites on the memory card too, just so I know I have them. Anyway, cue a stressed out 10 minutes of deleting images from my memory card, and we were good to go. Hopefully I shall learn a lesson from this. One of the two photos i got before the ‘incident’ was at least a nice one!
Our Walk At Seacliff
Now, we all know that weather forecasters sometimes get the forecast wrong. Well, on Saturday, the forecast was for persistent heavy rain on Sunday morning. You can imagine I’m sure, how pleased we were when glorious warm sunshine and singing birds woke us up instead of the sound of heavy rain. I’m afraid I’m not a committed enough photographer to forgo the comforts of my bed just to shoot during the ‘golden hour of sunrise’. None the less, I was hoping we would be there early enough for it to be quiet. Truly, I’m not sure if it ever gets really busy here, but as we arrived we pretty much had the place to ourselves.
If you head right, you walk towards the rocky outcrop jutting into the sea that is St Baldreds Boat, signified by a stone beacon with a cross on top. We headed left (after the camera debacle), towards the noteworthy sandstone harbour. Tantallon Castle starts to tease you and come into view, but the best views await you at the top of the rocks.
A little bit of ‘climbing’ is required, but it is worth it. There are some relatively steep sections and you’ll definitely want to be wearing footwear with good grip. The harbour is fascinating, and on occasions does have a boat in. At 3 metres wide it is extraordinary that this harbour was carved out of the rocks. I don’t have any photos of the harbour itself, as I’m always nervous of Audrey getting too close to the edge. These rocks are a gorgeous red sandstone colour, and when the sky is as blue as it was, makes for quite a contrast.
View of Tantallon Castle
The views of Tantallon Castle are nothing short of spectacular, and it’s easy to see why Seacliff was used as the staging post for raids on the castle. These days, Seacliff provides some wonderful photographic opportunities, and the view of Tantallon is one of them.
This time a photographer had left some kit relatively unattended. I don’t know if this is just Audrey, but there’s no way I’m letting her near that bag! Despite being a girl, Audrey is quite fond of lifting her leg on bags etc and/or exploring the contents for food. Anyone else find that on dog walks you pretty much just spend your time scanning for the next ‘hazard’?
It is a stunning spot at the top, and there is lots of bird activity too. The cliffs are obviously acting as a haven for lots of wildlife, and if that’s your thing I suspect there is plenty that would keep you entertained.
Dog Friendly Fun at Seacliff
I’m fairly certain that Audrey is not particularly fascinated by castles or harbours, and her judgement of a beach is more down to how much space there is for good old fashioned play. The good news for Audrey here at Seacliff is that the beach is huge at low tide, so you’ll definitely want to take a ball in addition to your camera.
As a dog owner it is worth noting that there are often horses enjoying the wide expanses of sand for their daily exercise. The estate is full of paddocks with horses, I wonder if they are aware they’ve hit the jackpot getting to canter on Seacliff most days. The beach is wide enough that you can stay away from them, but do be aware.
The entry fee is £3 if the barrier is down.
You can find directions for finding the road down to Seacliff (and also a great photo of the harbour) here.
There are toilets in the car park, I’m afraid I haven’t tested them for you! They don’t look ‘luxurious’.
Seacliff is only a few minutes drive from North Berwick in one direction, and about 5 minutes in the car from the Tyninghame Smithy the other way. We went to the Smithy after this walk and will be reviewing the cafe later this week here on Blog On A Dog.