If I were super clever, I’d probably start this post with a poem about beaches, and how awesome they are, and how they cleanse the soul and refresh the body. But does this look like a blog that reads poetry? No, we spend our time picking up poop and discussing it. Instead, let me begin with this shot of Gullane Bents, on East Lothian’s beautiful coast.
You Crazy Beach
It's a wide beach with dunes protecting the land - dunes that are bountiful in birds and other wildlife. And then there are the rockpools which are fantastic for all ages - catch a crab, a fish or, on a cold day, a cold - it's up to you!
And luckily, chances are your dog will love the beach too - there’s something about sand coursing through their paws that they just love.
Here at Happy Home Dog Boarding, we love our day trips to the beach, and want to share our adventures and tips with you. We’re starting with Gullane Bents, a large strip of beach nestled in between Aberlady and Yellowcraigs in East Lothian. It offers a stunning place to walk and wonder at all times of the year, and the beach, along with most of this coastline, is a favourite for geologists too because of the layers of history underneath your feet.
We favour going to beaches at low tides to get more bang for your buck, and you can look at when the next low tide will occur here.
Getting There, Car Parking & Accessibility
If you don’t have a car, First Bus operate the X5 and 124 buses from Edinburgh and North Berwick which stop at Gullane.
There are enough recycling bins for all your BBQing needs, as well as toilets for the post-picnic wee and the children who never seem to empty their bladders in one go.
Usually, there is a ice cream van by the cars for all your ice creamery needs, with soft drinks available too.
The Beach Road
As you walk down the gentle slope to the sand, you’ll pass loads of spiny bushes, often with red or pink berries clinging tightly to the branches. These are Sea Buckthorn, and are delicious - if you know what you are doing.
If you want a quick blast of mouthal sensation (is that a thing?) carefully tease one off, making sure it doesn’t pop in your fingers, and stick it in your gob. BOOM! It’s like eating ten Haribo Tangfastics at once, and will make your mouth say oooooooooaaaaaaah. #Guaranteed.
Obviously, only eat if you know that’s what it is - don’t munch on a hunch!
When you hit the sand itself it curves widely to the west and east, with only the tide dictating how far you can go, as opposed to cliffs or walls.
As ever with beaches, people seem to cram themselves into the meter square directly in front of and to the sides of the entrance, so if your pup has a tendency to race for the nearest burger or sandwich, it might be best to keep him on lead until you are closer to the sea.
The wide beach is great for the dog who likes to run, swim, paddle, any or all of the above! The sand gives way to layers of rock, which themselves let us go rock pooling, and there's one or two bigger pools that are perfect for the little dogs who like a safe swim.
The water is as clean as you could hope for. Since Keep Scotland Beautiful began the Scottish Seaside Awards some quarter of a century ago, Gullane has been a winner every single year. This means that it is one of the cleanest and best managed beaches in the country.
You can get fantastic views over the Firth of Forth to Fife towards Kirkcaldy, and even on a good day the Forth bridges are seen just before the horizon.
Aberlady Bay Local Nature Reserve
If you continue walking westward, you will come across this sign, which made Sprocket a sad dog.
A nature reserve since 1952, Aberlady Bay Local Nature Reserve offers a varied range of habitats for animals, including nesting birds. It is for this reason that dogs are not welcome, for fear of disturbing ground dwelling birds.
If you keep your dog on the beach or in the sea, you'll have no concerns, other than they may feel sad...
Images of Gullane
There are only so many words that can describe a beach, but pictures tell the whole story. Here are a few, and let us know if we have inspired you to take a trip to Gullane.
And do let us know about your favourite beach, our dogs would love you for it!