Dunbar

Star Travel Rating

5/5

Review type

Destination

Location

Date of travel

July, 2019

Product name

Product country

Product city

Travelled with

On your own

Reasons for trip

The lady who runs the mobile seafood stall on the harbour at Dunbar knows exactly where she gets the fillings for her her lobster and crab sandwiches.

If asked, Dawn Wilson points a finger a few yards to the fleet of little boats gently rocking at anchor. “That’s where and they can’t be any fresher than that,” she responds.

Dawn is a member of the Bisset family of Scottish fisher folk whose catches are landed in he ancient harbour in East Lothian. In the past two years they have expanded their door-to-door business to include the quay side stall.

Within an hour of lobster and crab being hauled by crane on to the quay it has been processed and on sale in fresh Scottish buns. And at £4 for crab and only 50p extra for lobster the generously filled sandwiches are a hit with tourists and residents in this rapidly expanding coastal town. She will also produce a live lobster to take home if you ask for a mere £8 but it is not for the squeamish

Only less than an hour’s drive from Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital city, Dunbar is
among a string of towns, some of them formerly mining communities, where
lower housing costs and swaths of new builds are attracting newcomers.

Apart from excellent road connections, Dunbar enjoys rail services almost unique
for towns of its size. Most long distance trains from Edinburgh and from the south and London stop at the busy station for reasons that today seems inexplicable.

There is also a regular Edinburgh local commuter service but the probable explanation of Dunbar’s wealth of train links is because historically it was a major port and centre of the herring industry, now sadly no longer.

Once it was packed with boats but fewer than thirty are left fish outside the deep harbour, leaving its safety beneath the ruins of an ancient castle. Most of the catch consists of prawns, lobsters and crabs, but the harbour’s solid fortified-walls also provides sheltered anchorage for many visiting and locally-owned leisure craft.

I watched as one of the little fishing boats returned with boxes filled with lobsters and crabs. Like clockwork but more I guess mobile phone, a vehicle arrived at the quayside as the vessel nosed its way home and tied up against the harbour wall to deposit a valuable catch of lobster and crab.

“I suppose they are off to France,” I asked as the cargo was loaded on the back of the half-track. “Something like that,” was the friendly but curt reply. The vehicle returned a short time later with boxes I can only guess contained the catch for other destinations. I am convinced the lettering on the side was in French…

John Williams

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