Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Seacliff Beach

To Seacliff! This 'secret' beach is an open secret, has been blogged about recently by a number of others (like nothing to see here and Undiscovered Scotland), and appears with regularly in the Saturday sections of local newspapers, every time some journalist discovers it for themselves.

Yet its reputation as a secret is understandable. Unsignposted, you don't just happen across Seacliff - you need to know where you are going. "Go straight ahead at the sharp bend in the road half a mile past the castle" you can imagine an old seacliffer telling a new initiate. The first time I had attempted to reach Seacliff was by foot from the south along the coast, but high tide and steep, thorn-thick dunes at Scoughall Links put paid to my attempts and I had been forced to return to Tyninghame.

Ravensheugh Sands to the south of Scoughall and Seacliff:

This time we arrived the normal way, by car, and paid the £2 entry fee for the beach car park. The Bass Rock and Tantallon Castle are prominent on the approach:

Tantallon and the Bass:

An old saying goes that two things are impossible: 'tae ding doon Tantallon and build a brig tae the Bass'. Cromwell put a lie to the first part of that saying when he brought cannon to reduce this mediaeval fortress, and today it may well be technically possible - if pointless - to build a bridge to Bass Rock. Such is progress.

Like Ailsa Craig off the Ayrshire coast, the Bass Rock commands attention for its abrupt shape:

Bass Rock and St Baldred's Boat:

Bass Rock from Seacliff beach:

See the white on the rock? Gannet shit.

Seacliff beach itself is popular with a discerning crowd - well-behaved surfing families with bodyboards and canoes, beachside bowers made of branches, and a lack of discarded lager cans or neds. We walked down the rocky coast toward Scoughall and the rocky stump of Seacliff Tower but were, again, thwarted by high tide. If walking the coast, this section should be done at low tide!

The rocks around here were of hard compressed sand and particularly interesting for the strange holes. Some rocks were riddled with them. Wave erosion? A small creature? What do you think?

Typical Seacliff rock:

This was a very short visit to the beach. A longer trip is in order, coming on a summer morning to make the most of the north-easterly aspect. To finish, we took a look at the famous wee harbour (capacity: 1 boat) at the western end of the beach but to be honest, the surrounding rockforms were more impressive than the harbour itself.

Obligatory photo of Seacliff harbour and cliff-girt Tantallon:

Still, another tick in the 'Quirky Places' book...


Alex said...

One of Bob`s favourite area also.!

Linz said...

Hi there I really enjoyed this blog and your photos. Just hope too many people don't read about this 'open secret'!

Robert Craig said...

Linz, Bob: shhhhh! :)