Dunes, beaches and platforms at Gullane

sea level history                       


The coast of East Lothian

The eye is drawn to the coast from almost every vantage point in East Lothian. From the slopes of the Lammermuirs we look down on the estuary of the Tyne; from the Garleton Hills we see Aberlady Bay and even from Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh, the Bass Rock beckons. It is a sparkling coastline, with alternating sandy beaches, rocky platforms, sheltered bays and intricate cliffs. This is a coast to treasure.

The coast of East Lothian has an attractive mix of rock cliffs and shore platforms and sandy beaches and bays. All experience erosion, especially those sections exposed to storm waves generated in the North Sea. This is also a glaciated coast line, with ice-moulded hills forming the shoreline along the great fjrd of the Firth of Forth. When the ice finally retreated around 15,000 years ago the land rebounded and a succession of raised shorelines developed on the rising margin of the land.  These raised platforms have been an important influence on the layout of settlements like North Berwick and Dunbar. The raised beaches and overlying dune systems have formed ideal terrain for the links golf courses. Tsunami deposits have been recognized amongst the raised estuarine sands in the John Muir Country Park.  The modern beaches and estuaries at Aberlady and Tyne Mouth show many classic elements of coastal deposition.