My Trip to North Berwick

North Berwick is a small town just 40 miles off Edinburgh and is definitely not as crowded as Edinburgh which is a good thing. Just off North Berwick are a few small islands such as Bass Rock and the Isle of May.

Bass Rock Island

Isle of May is home to rabbits, puffins, guillemots, fulmars, eider ducks, oyster catchers, gulls and a few other birds. Sometimes you may spots seals basking on the rocks. Bass Rock island is home to gannets, the entire landscape of Bass Rock is colonized by gannets, over a million. There is the Scottish Seabird Centre which looks after the welfare of these birds mainly through the support of volunteers and they also organize boat trips to these islands.

Puffin with fish
Gannet in flight

I had initially booked on to the Bass Rock landing trip and also on the Isle of May landing trip both organized by the Scottish Seabird Centre. On Bass Rock, you can spend around 3 hours on the island photographing and filming Gannets. Just before my arrival into North Berwick by train, I got a call from the Scottish Seabird Centre stating that due to not so good weather, the Bass Rock trip would be cancelled. However due to this cancellation I was offered a refund or had the option to go on another boat trip. Anyhow on arrival, I quickly checked into my bed and breakfast and made my way to the Seabird Centre which was a 15 minute walk and here I discussed my options and decided to go on the Isle of May landing trip which was scheduled to run the next day. This was a good choice I made because on the other trip which was supposed to run on Thursday of that week also got cancelled again due to poor weather. I do not blame them as safety comes first. But then it does get annoying when you travel so far over 4 hours by train, book a bed and breakfast for 3 nights and other expenses all for nothing. UK train fares are one of the most expensive. The Isle of May experience was good but could have been better if we had spent 6 to 7 hours on the island instead of the 2 and half hours permitted time. It took around 45 minutes each way to and from the island. There was alot to explore and photograph on the island and I felt that 2 and half hours is not enough. It would be best to book this trip on three consecutive days to get maximum experience but they do not always operate trips on continuous days, one will have to check their calender or phone them directly to get information.

Tantallon Castle at sunset

Other places of interest in North Berwick is Seacliff beach and Tantallon Castle which is actually not very far from Seacliff beach. Near the beach is an area of woodlands where you spot deer however they are quite shy. It is a good walk across these woodlands and around the beach area. It feels very peaceful as there are not that many people around. I really liked spending my time around the beach usually during the evenings and also a nice spot for some landscape photography.

There is a bed and breakfast around Seacliff and even though I was not staying there, it would have been a good option to do so mainly to appreciate the great views. Unlike Edinburgh, North Berwick is a small village town and is recommended for those who like the peace and quiet.