Walk: Aberlady & Gullane beaches - birdies on the Golf Coast

East Lothian | Aberlady | Half day walk | ★★★

[Aberlady Bay]

People living in the villages of Aberlady and Gullane are lucky to have a stunning coastline at their disposal. Beautiful outlooks over the Edinburgh skyline and Fife are the backdrops to broad expanses of golden sand at low tide. This region is often known as Lothian's golf coast, but you don't have to play to enjoy the area. Extensive greens are joined by sand dunes, salt marsh, craggy outcrops and rock pools in between the vast expanses of Aberlady and Gullane Bays. Overlooked by a popular coast path, it could make for the ideal geography field trip. Wading birds are also lucky residents, with Aberlady Bay designated Britain's first local nature reserve in 1952. The John Muir Way long distance footpath provides a return route further inland, with a short detour to have a look at Saltcoats Castle.

[Looking south from Gullane Point]

Location & info

📌 Walk: Aberlady & Gullane beaches - birdies on the Golf Coast ★★★
Start / finish at Aberlady Bay, A198 1 mi east of Aberlady, G.R.: NT 471805 ///struck.ooze.readily. Alternative start point at Gullane.
🚌 Bus to Gullane, at a different point on the route | 🚗 Car park

▶ 10 km / 6 mi | ▲ 60 m | ⌚ Half a day
Features: Aberlady Bay; Gullane Bay ★★★; Old St Andrew's Church (Gullane) ; Gullane; Saltcoats Castle
Easy | Sandy paths, tracks and tidal beach section (path alternative at high tide) for outward route to Gullane. Further paths and tracks for return, ending with pavement along main road. Detour to Saltcoats Castle can be wet underfoot.

Route: Start - Aberlady Bay - Marl Loch - Gullane Point - Gullane Bay - Old St Andrew's Church (Gullane) - Gullane - Saltcoats Castle - start via John Muir Way & A198

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On our visit

Wildlife: 2020: Thousands of geese flying overhead. Curlews, knots, oystercatchers, terns, shags and other seabirds for coastal part. Roe deer and lots of hairy caterpillars on the dunes. Small fish in rockpools. Ripe blackberries on inland return. 2013: birds and bumblebees on the coastal section.
Weather: 2020: 10°C, sunshine. 2013: warm and sunny.

Chronological photo guide

[Aberlady Bay]


[Aberlady Bay]

[Marl Loch]

[Path around the edge of the nature reserve]

[Gullane Links]

[Roe deer]

[Sand dunes]

[Beach south of Gullane Point]

[Beach south of Gullane Point]

[Looking south from Gullane Point]


[Hummell Rocks]



[Gullane Bay]

[Gullane Bay]

[Gullane Bay from above]

[Old St Andrew's Church, Gullane]


[Saltcoats Castle]

[Track beyond Saltcoats Castle]

[John Muir Way]

[Last section along the road]


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