Tyninghame is one of those gorgeous East Lothian beaches between Edinburgh and North Berwick which all seem to have their own character. Tyninghame’s character is fantastical, geological and wild.
Getting there: Satnav is not much help. Heading along the A198 from the A1, East Linton goes off to the left and then second on the right, at the Rettie sign, is your turnoff for the Tyninghame car park.
The car park is one particularly adorned with plastic bags filled with dog shit, but don’t let that put you off. The walk to the beach goes through Binning Wood, a glorious collection of beech trees planted originally by the Earl of Haddington, felled during WW2 then replanted (yep, I read the information board).
Then, suddenly, you stumble onto the beach where a huge, sprawling vista opens up to the right towards the broad sands of Belhaven Bay, and a compact, prettier view is to the left, where Seacliff hides behind the headland.
Going left, the beach turns out to be a strange and lovely collection of rocks and pools of strange colours and formations due to all kinds of geological goings on which I will not even claim to know about.
It’s like a land from Gulliver’s Travels, where if you were tiny you’d be surrounded by rocky cliffs and lakes, but instead you feel like a giant treading through a fantastical, miniature land.
Also, because the forest comes right down to the beach you get the heather and gorse greens next to the dusky pink of the rocks – a particularly lovely colour combo.
It was also freezing. Although we set out on a sunny October morning, by the time we were sitting down to our picnic the sun had done its special Scottish trick of grabbing its coat and leaving halfway through the date. Further down the beach a clever family had a fire going and were grilling something on it, but we instead huddled together into a kind of hollow, the kids’ noses streaming into their crisps, and made a note to ourselves: no picnics in Scotland between September and June.
Still, a brisk walk along the beach later (passing the outdoorsy family who were tucking into lamb chops) and we were warm again – ish. We walked to the headland, admired the golden sands beyond and then walked back through the woods, which the kids loved. It was two terrains for the price of one, and that price was zero!
Special cake note: we stopped in the very pretty village of East Linton on the way back to drink hot chocolate and eat cake in the main café there (sorry, I can’t find the name but it was the first one we came to from the A168, opposite some kind of village hall and it had an amazing range of top cakes!).