Gullane is an exceptionally pretty village sitting astride the main A198 to North Berwick and about five miles west of the town. The village is well summed up in the header photo. It enters the third millennium as a golf resort in which the quality and number of golf course is surpassed only by the quality and number of large and imposing villas, many overlooking either the golf courses or the sea.
Gullane's origins are ancient and a church was established here in the 800s. This was replaced in the 1100s by St Andrew's Kirk, whose recently consolidated ruins still stand at the west end of Main Street. In 1612 the Old Church was abandoned in favour of the newly built Dirleton Church, just over two miles to the north east in Dirleton. In part this was because Dirleton Church was more convenient for more parishioners (especially those resident in Dirleton Castle, and in part it was because of the problem of sand blowing into and over the kirk, threatening to inundate it. A new parish church was eventually built in Gullane.
The mention of sand highlights one of Gullane's less obvious attractions. One of the best beaches in East Lothian is at Gullane Bents, where the north and west facing Gullane Bay, backed by dunes, sweeps round from Gullane Point to Black Rocks. At Black Rocks it is possible to see the ruin of St Patrick's Chapel, which is thought to date back to the early 1500s and was originally roofed in turf before at some time being lost in shifting sand. Those arriving at the beach at particularly high tides can be in for a surprise, as the beach can all but totally disappear making progress along it challenging.
Gullane Bents is signposted from Gullane's busy Main Street and there is ample parking available. Between the parking and the beach are dunes colonised by shrubs like sea buckthorn. Behind the grassy links land of Gullane Bents is the wall marking the northern edge of the village, behind which sit the largest of the seaward-facing villas. It is justifiably popular, both with people living in the area and with those taking holidays in East Lothian.
The main street is home to a reasonable selection of shops and services and there are a number of pubs and restaurants on hand, plus a fish and chip shop. Dominating the western end of the main street is the large building that was, until it closed, the Templar Lodge Hotel. This has since been converted for residential use, which has brought life back to this side of the main street. At the east end of Gullane is a slight surprise: the Scottish Fire Service Training School was established here in the early 1950s in an attractively converted hotel.
There is another surprise in store half a mile to the south of Gullane, where the ruins of Saltcoats Castle are gradually being reclaimed by nature.
But however you look at it, Gullane is really all about golf. As you approach from the west you drive past and through the courses of the Gullane Golf Club. Golf has been played here since 1854 and Gullane's three courses (No.1, No.2 and No.3) were established in 1884, 1898 and 1910. There are two clubhouses, one for members and visitors to the most challenging No.1 course, the other for visitors to the No.2 and No.3 courses. As if this was not enough, immediately to the south of these courses is Luffness New Golf Club.
There are more golf courses to the east of Gullane. By far the best known is Muirfield, whose course is said by those who know to be one of the very best in the world. Muirfield is home to the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, the oldest organised golf club in the world. This was founded in Leith in 1744, later moving to Musselburgh before settling at Muirfield in 1891. The Open Championship has been held here on sixteen occasions, most recently in 2013.
Overlooking the 10th tee at Muirfield is the superb Greywalls Hotel. This was built as a country house in 1901 to a design by Sir Edwin Lutyens (and later extended by Sir Robert Lorimer) and accompanied by a six acre garden designed by Gertrude Jekyll.