Learn the history behind Scotland's ancient castles and buildings
Grid ref: NT 556 842
Telephone: 01620827459 (Countryside officer)
email: firstname.lastname@example.org (Countryside officer)
Prices and opening times
Berwick Law is free to visit and open year-round
Standing 187m above sea level, Berwick Law dominates the landscape around the popular seaside town of North Berwick. Finding the ancient landmark is an easy task, as all you have to do is head towards North Berwick, and as soon as the town is in view you can’t fail to notice the gigantic mountain that stands proud in this otherwise relatively flat part of East Lothian. Access to the Law is easy as North Berwick council has conveniently provided a car park at the foot of the hill, and a gently sloping path leads upwards and winds all the way to the summit.
From here breathtaking views of the East Lothian countryside can be seen, with the town of North Berwick stretching out in front of you and rolling fields heading out in all directions. Northwards, the shimmering waves of the Firth of Forth can be seen with the Gannet covered Bass Rock clearly visible just a short distance away.
As you make the walk to the summit you should be aware that in wet weather the grassy trail can become slippery with mud, and when the North Sea winds blow in it can make the ascent a little uncomfortable. But on a clear sunny day, the route to the top is nothing short of spectacular.
The law is actually a volcanic plug that erupted from the landscape over 300 million years ago, and after millennia of erosion the tough rock that we now see is all that remains to remind us that East Lothian was once an area of intense geological activity.
Berwick Law has a long history as a naval lookout post, with records indicating that it had been used for such a purpose as far back as 1544, when fires would be lit to raise the alarm if French ships tried to enter the Firth of Forth. At the summit you will find the remains of a stone building that was built around 1800 as a watch-house during the Napoleonic wars, while a much later World War II lookout post can be seen towards the top, gazing out towards the Forth for German ships. You will also likely be amazed by the white structure that sits right at the very top of the Law. This is a replica of the whalebones that were first placed there in 1709, although the current ones are of a much more modern (and ecologically friendly) fibreglass construction.