What a wonderful surprise Dunbar was! About 40 miles east of Edinburgh itself (so easily within reach from our campsite) we opted to stay on the Camping & Caravan Club site on the outskirts of Dunbar.
It didn’t take us very long to get there from Holy Island being just a short hop up the A1 and over the border – it probably only took us about an hour and a half.
The site itself was one of those where as you drive onto your pitch you have your breath taken away by the view before you. See our review for pictures.
The 1st afternoon was spent stocking up in the nearby Asda and just relaxing. We opted for a Chinese takeaway in the evening, landing up in Kings Palace on the High Street. where the service was excellent and the food was good. (Bit bemused by the fellow customer who appeared not to really want to talk to us, but then kept piping up with ‘helpful’ advice – such as the best time to visit to avoid the midges would be July & August…..)
The next day we pulled on our walking boots and headed off towards Barns Ness lighthouse that we could see from the campsite. This proved to be a longer walk than we were expecting! Barns Ness lighthouse is no longer in use and appears to be a dwelling now with maybe a hall for hire.
The walk does go further than we did but we walked back along the beach (not 1 of the better ones we’ve seen) and we could see the golf course fronting the sea between where we were and Dunbar itself.
All in all a really pleasant afternoon out.
The next day was set aside to cycle into Dunbar. It wasn’t a difficult ride at all with access to the cycle path pretty much all the way. We left the main road and headed down towards the water and the golf club and then took the back roads that run parallel to the main road until we reached the harbour.
We came across the old harbour first before finding our way to the ‘new’, enlarged harbour which was a hive of activity. From here we watched a catch of brown crabs being landed and visited the old fort which has performed many functions throughout it’s history, including as a fort, hospital and residences for the poor. It has now been redeveloped to showcase the history of the town and is a very interesting, free, visit with a beautiful view out to sea.
We also watched the bridge between the two harbours being raised to allow a sailing boat out (this happened later in the day when the tide was high enough).
From here we walked up into town past the new leisure centre with it’s wave pool, and the castle guarding the harbour (the harbour entrance was actually cut through the castle itself) – the castle isn’t really accessible anymore unfortunately.
We stopped for a sandwich in one of the cafes (attached to a pub), but I think we picked the wrong one! The sandwich wasn’t very nice and the service was a little lacking unfortunately. Put it this way we wouldn’t go back!
From here we wandered along the high street (and ended up buying a few bits and pieces in the hardware store..) before finding the town museum. It wasn’t opening for 10 minutes or so, so we continued up the street looking up at the old buildings, many of which were, sadly, in a state of disrepair.
The museum itself is free to enter and covers the history of Dunbar, which includes a very interesting dvd that we were shown telling us all about the outdoor lido that used to occupy an area now overlooked by the new leisure centre.
It’s so sad that this wonderful amenity is no longer there (it was demolished only in 1984)! On our walk back to the bikes we were able to see a couple of tell-tale signs that it had once existed (but only because we knew about it). I’ve found an interesting article about it that you can read here.
There is another museum along the High Street which concerns John Muir, a famous writer and naturalist who was born in Dunbar.
We really loved Dunbar even though it’s perhaps a little tired in places and in need of some tlc – we would definitely return. If we do we will make sure we go a little further afield and perhaps try to visit North Berwick and maybe even venture into Edinburgh. We didn’t do that this time as we have both been to Edinburgh before so decided to leave it this time.
We actually wanted to head up to Loch Lomond from here, but the weather was turning so we decided to head south and our next stop was about an hour/hour and a half away in Lauder. My next post will cover the places we visited from there.
Keep travelling 🙂