North Berwick

We spent the recent Bank Holiday weekend in North Berwick in East Lothian. Our friends from Yorkshire drove up to meet us and we stayed in the beautiful Royal Apartments, complete with view over the harbour and Bass Rock. Confession: the shot on the balcony is staged. Despite the sun, it was very cold and we headed back inside to finish our G&Ts as soon as John pressed the shutter.

Although we’ve visited North Berwick several times as day-trippers, this was the first time we’d stayed in the town. John, however, spent several family holidays there in his youth – and thereby hangs a tale (or two). The Royal Apartments are built on the site of the old Royal Hotel where a very small John persuaded his even smaller brother and sister to turn the taps on in the basin to the point of flooding. “No, Mummy, it wasn’t me!” Tsk, tsk.

On Saturday morning, we took the Three Islands Seabird Seafari around the Lamb, Craigleith and the Bass Rock. All were teeming with bird-life: the Bass Rock is home to over 150,000 gannets at the peak of the season. The trip, in a 12-seater RIB (rigid inflatable boat) was choppy – and just this side of unsettling. First, we had to don our waterproofs.

Then we set off. I can’t remember which birds were from which island, but by the foghorn and lighthouse we had reached the Bass Rock. We had good views back to the Rock and forward to Tantallon Castle on the return journey to the harbour.

On another family holiday, a teenage John and his cousin decided to row out to the Bass Rock from the beach near Tantallon. When their mothers discovered what they had done, they called out the lifeboat – but the boys got back before they had to be rescued. To (belatedly) salve his conscience, John popped a generous donation into the Royal National Lifeboat Institution collecting tin on Saturday afternoon.

There’s more to come on our East Lothian trip – though without the embarrassing (for John) family recollections.



38 thoughts on “North Berwick

  1. helenmackinven May 10, 2015 / 12:45

    The apartment looks lovely Anabel and I’d really like to go on the boat trip. I’ve been to North Berwick a few times as a child and took my sons to the Seabird centre years ago but this post makes me want to go back again. Another place to add to my ‘must visit’ list!


    • Anabel Marsh May 10, 2015 / 13:00

      Can highly recommend the apartment! I know it’s not far away, but sometimes it’s just nice to have a wee break that doesn’t take long to get to and from. There’ll be more posts in the next few days – so much of interest in East Lothian.

      Liked by 1 person

      • helenmackinven May 10, 2015 / 13:12

        It’s not an area I know well but would like to explore more. Looking forward to more ideas from your next posts.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. joylovestravel May 10, 2015 / 13:37

    Sounds like a great trip and the blue skies make it look warm!! We spent the bank holiday in Wales – neither blue skies nor heat, it was freezing and so wet. Love the sound of the boat ride and what you got to see – not sure I’m brave enough for a RIB though!!


    • Anabel Marsh May 10, 2015 / 17:14

      Sounds typical Bank Holiday weather! The Sunday was wet with us, but at least the other days kept dry.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. clicksclan May 10, 2015 / 14:56

    I love your photos from the boat trip, though I don’t fancy it myself. When we were in Whitby we went out on an old life boat and that was not my favourite experience; very rocky and a little too close to the water for my liking. 😉

    Cait @ Click’s Clan


    • Anabel Marsh May 10, 2015 / 15:12

      It was only an hour and a quarter – not sure I’d have liked it to be any longer!


  4. Susan Ozmore May 10, 2015 / 15:29

    Wonderful photos! It really does make me want to go. I might even enjoy the boat trip. Thanks for sharing. Oh btw. This is the second time today I’ve read G&T on a post from Scotland. What might that be? My first thought was Gin & Tonic 🙂


    • Anabel Marsh May 10, 2015 / 16:06

      Definitely gin and tonic! Perhaps we Scots are all on the gin after the election……

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Sarah Ferguson May 10, 2015 / 16:01

    This looks like a great trip! And I never would have known it was a staged photo had you not said anything. Can’t wait to hear more about it!


  6. Paul May 10, 2015 / 20:30

    Funny enough, we were not to far from you, we spent the full day around Dunbar. It’s a corner of Scotland I have never properly explored however after just a day there I feel a need to go back. So much to see and photograph! I hate going on boats on deep water but seeing some of those pictures I now have the urge to go on one. Smashing post Anabel.


  7. Birgit May 10, 2015 / 21:57

    This looks like you had a lovely time. Your hubby was a bit of a stinker:) This must talked about today in honour of Mother’s Day here in Canada and the U.S. 🙂 These are great pictures. The seal looks so lonely


    • Anabel Marsh May 10, 2015 / 22:06

      Thanks Birgit – the seal had some pals, they just aren’t in the picture!


  8. Sue Archer May 11, 2015 / 02:16

    That sounds like a lot of gannets! I don’t think I’ve ever been anywhere with that many birds. 🙂 We’ve been catching up on the show Planet Earth, and it has some shots of bird migrations that are simply incredible. I think if I was anywhere near them I would have to duck!


    • Anabel Marsh May 11, 2015 / 07:50

      It did resemble the Hitchcock film at times when they all took off together! We escaped unscathed….

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Maria May 11, 2015 / 03:06

    Thanks for the confession that the shot on the balcony was staged. It was a big puzzle for me when I was in Gothenburg, Sweden with 8 deg C, which feels like 4 deg C on how people could lounge outside with less clothing than mine!

    Thanks for the photos of the birds too 🙂 Such nice sights to see!

    Whilst the A-Z April Challenge is rounding up to a close, yes I am happy to take a rest and will probably blog on twice or thrice a week for now. But of course, I’ll see you around bloggers.


    • Anabel Marsh May 11, 2015 / 07:51

      I think it’s what you’re used to! We went to Italy at Easter once and to us it was t-shirt weather, but they were wearing fur coats. Yes – let’s hope we can all keep in touch.


  10. dmlsexton May 11, 2015 / 06:31

    That bird with the red beak is so cute, and that’s coming from a person who generally dislikes birds. Glad to have read in the comment above that the seal shown in the pictures is not all alone in the world because I agree he does look quite lonely. Wondering how many adults even remember the trouble they caused others as kids let alone feel guilty about it.


    • Anabel Marsh May 11, 2015 / 07:58

      Yes, plenty of seals but dotted about and because their colour didn’t stand out against the rocks in the same way, they weren’t as photogenic as the birds. Teenage John was indignant at the humiliation of the lifeboat being called out when they didn’t need rescuing. Adult John sees the folly of his ways! I’m just horrified when I look at the distance they rowed and feel the currents.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. jazzytower May 12, 2015 / 21:19

    I love the staged photo, had you not confessed, no one could tell. It Made for a great shot. Some really cool in flight shots there too:)


    • Anabel Marsh May 12, 2015 / 21:27

      Those were my husband – he’s the good photographer. Anything rubbish is usually me!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Lori L MacLaughlin May 13, 2015 / 03:19

    Love the castle photo, and all those birds, my goodness. Looks like a lovely place to visit.


    • Anabel Marsh May 13, 2015 / 07:17

      It was, as I think I said to another commenter, I keep finding places so close to home that I’ve completely overlooked.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. vannillarock May 13, 2015 / 18:47

    finally had a bit of a catch up – love those bird shots! but not sure sure about the trip out to get them (basically looks too cold!) i am ashamed to say i have never seem the herm puffins- a stone’s throw away.
    suffering from the “there is never enough time to blog in guernsey”


  14. rosemaylily2014 June 1, 2015 / 07:37

    These are lovely photos! A very good friend of mine (here in Perth Australia) hails from North Berwick and has just come back from a trip home to see her family there. It looks and sounds a lovely place albeit a bit on the cold side!


    • Anabel Marsh June 1, 2015 / 07:44

      Thanks for commenting. It is lovely, as I’m sure your friend will confirm. I suspect your temperature is better though!

      Liked by 1 person

      • rosemaylily2014 June 1, 2015 / 08:00

        Yes she had to go out and buy a warm winter jacket in the sales as she’d misjudged the temperature beforehand and hadn’t packed one!


          • rosemaylily2014 June 1, 2015 / 08:24

            Hope it warms up soon! I was visiting my family in Yorkshire end of March/early April and it was cold at first but then Easter was actually quite mild! It went cooler again though!


            • Anabel Marsh June 1, 2015 / 08:59

              Yes, Easter was lovely. We thought spring had sprung then it went away again. *Looks dolefully out at the rain*

              Liked by 1 person

  15. Su Leslie June 4, 2015 / 11:03

    Sounds like a great trip. I love your photos of the birds.


    • Anabel Marsh June 4, 2015 / 11:19

      It was! All photos John’s (anything good always is, anything rubbish will be mine.)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Su Leslie June 4, 2015 / 21:25

        I used to feel like that with the Big T. I could never understand how we could photograph the same thing and get such different results. I persevered, and while he still takes better portraits than me, I think I see through a photographer’s eyes more now. Plus I always have my camera handy and he tends to forget his. Hehe.

        Liked by 1 person

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