North Berwick Law – North Berwick, Scotland - Atlas Obscura

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North Berwick Law

An amazing model of a whale's jaw bone pays homage to the region's seafaring traditions.  

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Near the small fishing village of North Berwick in East Lothian, stands a 613-foot cone-shaped hill with some interesting features that reside at the apex.

The most striking is a fiberglass model of a whale’s jawbone. Originally in 1709, there were actual mounted skeletal remains, but due to adverse weather conditions, the remains were replaced with models. The monument is meant to honor the seafaring traditions of the local community.

This ancient volcanic plug provides spectacular views of Bass Rock, as well as the Firth of Forth estuary and beyond. Other attributes found at the summit are a pair of military fortifications, although separated by several centuries. On one side are the remains of an Iron Age fort, and on the other is a lookout building used during both the Napoleonic Wars and World War II.

This domed-shaped hill, sometimes shortened to as just Berwick Law, has been here since the Ice Age. During that time, it has had a number of visitors, one of which would have been the naturalist John Muir.

He grew up in the nearby town of Dunbar. There are numerous trails emanating from there, including one that bears his name. In 1953, a bonfire was lit from this location to observe the crowning of Queen Elizabeth II.

Know Before You Go

Car and bike parking are available, with no other amenities.


Due to the rough terrain and outdoor weather, wear appropriate clothing and footwear. It is a gradual 30 - 45 minute hike to the top, with uneven surfaces and occasionally steep grades. It is advised not to attempt to use the north side of the Law for either ascent or descent, as it is extremely steep and treacherous. Please use the paths provided.


Be aware that there are rock climbers and wild ponies in the vicinity. Keep dogs on leads/leashes at all times.

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February 4, 2022

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