Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Even Further Along the Coast

Yesterday I completed my tour of the Lothian coast by visiting the town of Dunbar. It's a few years since I was here and it was good to return. The day started bright but frosty, luckily it warmed up a bit.

The focus of the town is its harbour and the ruined castle. Dunbar Castle was once considered the strongest fortress in the country and has a turbulent history having being destroyed and re-built several times. It's old. There's been a castle here since the 11th century. Strangely its strength was its downfall. In 1567 the Scottish Parliament ordered its destruction because it was feared that an enemy capturing the castle could endanger the whole country. 
The castle and the harbour. The building of which caused yet more damage to the ruin.

It's hard to imagine what the castle once looked like.
Maybe like this

The town & harbour

There is an active fishing industry here. Do Scots eat a lot of lobster? I think most of the catch will be exported.
At the other end of the harbour is a building that used to be battery for cannon. This was built in 1781 to defend the harbour. It's a little known part of our history (well, little known by me) that during the American War of Independence rebel ships operated out of France and attacked British ports.

In 1779 & 81 there were unsuccessful actions against the town that prompted the building of the defences. Both attacks were carried out by British captains acting for the Americans. The first of these being by Scotsman John Paul Jones, the "father of the US Navy". Although an American hero he seems to have been a dubious character and his actions may have been more in search of plunder rather than in support of the revolution. He went on to become the bass guitarist in Led Zeppelin, but that's another story.

The battery

A good vantage point to look out for pesky Yanks!
There is another American connection in the town. This is the birthplace of John Muir. He emigrated to the US as a child, became a naturalist and founded the National Parks. He was closely connected with Yosemite, in California.

The SV at the beach


Interesting rocks at shore

I came back by way of this narrow, winding road through the Lammermuir Hills.

You have to use your imagination but this is an ancient hill fort. "early Iron Age" so maybe 3,000 years old.


  1. Wow, such history. Who knew there would be such an American connection. John Muir and what he helped bring about with our National Park system is one of this countries greatest treasures.

    Sad to think the castles well built nature is what caused its downfall.

    Glad your snow melted and you were able to get out.

    1. I'm not sure I get the reasons for the destruction of the castle - but that's history.

      I think we've see the last of the snow but it remains cold.

    2. They recently completed a long-distance footpath named for John Muir and which runs through the town where I live - http://johnmuirway.org/

    3. Helensburgh to Dunbar would make a good coast to coast run on the bike.