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I grew up in the little village of Gullane which is roughly around 20 miles from Edinburgh on the east coast of Scotland (East Lothian). It still holds fond memories for me to this day and I visit quite frequently as my mother, mother in law, grandmother and uncle and aunt still stay here. It is a place where my husband and I would like to purchase a family home however as it is such a desirable area and within commuting distance from Edinburgh we would need a lottery win to be able to do this as house prices in this region are astronomical. My husband and I used to live next door to each other here too when I was six and he was eight so it is true you really can marry the girl next door!!!!
The name Gullane some think derives from "Guallan"which apparently is Scottish Gaelic for shoulder. Others believe that it is a derivative of "Golyn" which means a small lake taken from an adjoining piece of water which has since been drained.
I think that one of the best features of Gullane is definitely the beach so I will begin with a quick overview of this. Gullane Bents as it is known is an award winning beach which is right on the Firth of Forth and is part of the John Muir Way. This is a coastal link from Edinburgh to the Scottish borders which runs over 73 km taking in the stunning historic sites, nature trails and beautiful scenery along the way. I have to confess at this point that I have never actually walked its whole distance however I have attempted small sections of it from different starting points over the years. The main beach at Gullane is fantastic for dog walking and for family outings in the warmer weather. It is well populated in the summer months with day trippers who come from the surrounding towns. It has a lovely white sandy beach which has remained unspoiled over the years. We still go and take my mothers dog along here from time to time and it is relatively litter free. As kids we used to run up and down the hill at one end of the beach called "murder hill" and had barbeques here also. The opposite end of the beach is slightly rockier as it veers round the coast towards north Berwick. You can actually walk past Muirfield golf course at this end of the beach which incidentally is fenced off. There is a wonderful Childs play park situated next to the car parking area which is well maintained with several fun activities for toddlers and slightly older children to enjoy. Just next to this are very impressive toilet facilities too!!!
Gullane is famed for its world class golf courses which are played by visitors from all over the globe. It boasts five courses to include. Gullane number 1, 2 and 3 links courses. Luffness new course and the Muirfield Course which has been host to the Open Golf Championship on numerous occasions. The view from the 7th tee on Gullane number three has been described as "one of the best views in golf". On a clear day you can see right over the Lammerview hills, firth of forth and the bass rock. After a hard days golfing you can relax at the Gullane Golf Club for a drink or a lovely meal which can be open to non-members by special arrangement with the club. However there are separate club buildings for members and non members too. Full membership as you would imagine is extremely difficult to come by here and the waiting list is long. I won't go into the ins and outs of this as it is a long and complicated process. I would suggest logging onto the Gullane Golf Club website to find out full details of membership. As for membership to Muirfield I think that this is almost impossible to achieve. Round prices I again will be unhelpful here as I don't play the game however I can imagine it's not cheap. Caddies can also be hired if you are feeling lazy.
The Fire Training School at Gullane was set up in 1953 in the former Marine hotel and has subsequently expanded since that time. - This school particularly holds fond memories for my husband as his father trained here in the seventies and it was here that he met his mother. She remains in Gullane to this day. Her father incidentally was the starter at Gullane number one course from 1940-1980. The old starter box remains to this day on the golf course. How's that for a bit of history!!!!
Gullane village itself is very quaint and the old smiddy remains in the centre of the village to this day. They used to train race-horses here and it was known originally as the Newmarket of Scotland. There is a children's mini golf course, several little shops to include a delicatessen golf shop, gift shop, newsagent ,hairdresser award winning bakery (which I used to work in when I was 14 my first job! under different ownership back then). Newsagent and a Bank and more recently a chip shop. Not to forget the Golf professional shop. The nearest larger shops can be found five miles away in North Berwick where there are supermarkets. There is a fantastic primary school; and nursery here and I used to love attending here. It's hard to believe actually that some of my old teachers remain there to this day!!! It really is a lovely little place and seems so far away even though I only live in Glasgow now and visit regularly. Perhaps one day we will be able to return permanently.
In the main street in the village is the ruined St. Andrews Church. Originally built around the 1100s. In 1612 this church was abandoned in favour of the newly built Dirleton Kirk which at the time was more convenient for the locals to attend. Interestingly the last vicar of "Golyn" was deposed by James V1 for smoking tobacco!!! The old well (Now blocked) remains on the site of the village green which is the site of the annual Gullane games a week of family activities and a fair ground usually running the last week of July. We go back for this each year and I'm glad to say it is still as popular today as it was when I was a youngster.
There are several hotels and B&BS in Gullane. The popular Golf Hotel, Bissets hotel. The old clubhouse and the Mallard Hotel which all serve a high standard of food to suit all budgets. If you are feeling flush though I would recommend La Potiniere restaurant for fine dining or suggest a stay at the exclusive Grey walls Hotel. (This is where some of the rich and famous frequent during the Open Golf championships). We used to spend a lot of time in our youth playing pool in the Templar Lodge which sadly now is awaiting some tlc and has been boarded up for a few years now.
Overall I would recommend a visit here. It is great for a family day out particularly in the warmer weather. There is so much to see here and the surrounding countryside is just absolutely stunning. The beaches are unspoiled and quiet. There are also several walks using Gullane as a starting point in any direction. I love this village and it is our dream to return one day permanently.