Seacliff Harbour with Tantallon Castle in the background

Reputedly the smallest harbour in Britain, although it is hard to imagine anything smaller. It was built in 1890 by Andrew Laidlay, the laird of Seacliff, the grandest baronial mansion built on the cliff overlooking the bay. The family fortune came from the manufacture of indigo in Calcutta. Laidlay was killed in 1907 when Seacliff House was gutted by fire. It stands today in ruins hidden by trees.

Laidlay had the harbour blasted out of the red sandstone, and then employed a steam engine and compressed air to finish the stone. Several boats fishing for salmon once worked from this tiny harbour but today it is just used by one boat which had just docked on the rising tide.

The harbour is located beside a small rocky island that is called The Ghegan which means the ‘Churchman’s Haven’, a reference to the Christian missionary St. Baldred.

During the 19th-century the foundations of an ancient dwelling, and its accompanying midden were found on The Ghegan. Human bones were found in the midden, as well as many animal bones, needles and pins. There was also a comb decorated with a man playing a serpentine, and part of the neck and handle of a Roman amphora. Both have been dated to the 1st or 2nd century, and are held in the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland.

There is no trace of these building today. It is thought that the rocky island was once part of a promontory before coastal erosion took its toll.

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