We took a trip to Cove Harbour in East Lothian, Scotland for the first time during 2021. Considering it was July and the height of Summer, it was what we'd call at driech day in Scotland - grey, raining, cold and miserable - welcome to Scotland ! I'd never been to Cove Harbour before and found it by chance on t'internet while looking around for places of interest near Edinburgh.
Its quite secluded, and not at all obvious. From Edinburgh you have to drive down the A1 (towards England), and then stop in the village of Cove, which has a good car park. From there, there is a single track road that leads down from the village to the foot of the cliffs - its maybe a 5-10 min walk.
You can see some of the Houses of Cove at the top which looks out over an impressive bay and the North Sea. If you continue down this road it will take you to the top of the harbour, by some old fishermen's buildings - but the thing that was totally cool is that there is a tunnel going into the cliff - and if you walk through that tunnel (which has no lighting) - it takes you through the cliff and out into a remarkable sheltered harbour. The tunnel is maybe 150yards long.
You emerge just above the shore on the other side and are greeted with a proper view of the harbour and along the cliffs to the east.
The pic below shows just how much shelter the harbour walls provide as you can see that its quite calm in the harbour but was fairly choppy out at sea.
The pic below looks back across the harbour to the cliff you walk through. It looks like the cliff is made out of red sandstone, which is very easy to work, hence why the tunnel would have been created. The pics I took in the tunnel didnt come out, but there were actually doors along its walls, which I assumed were used by fishermen as stores in days gone by.
There are old buildings on the west side (below) and here you can still see a few small fishing boats that use the harbour (I'm guessing creel boats for catching crab and lobster).
On the shore (below) there were a few more buildings including the red one to the left which I'm sure is a holiday/vacation rental property - which is an awesome location. The hut to the right with the open orange doors was a small fishermens hut used for storing a boat. When we were there there were a few people in the hut having a beer (!) - which looked great - I was desperate to join them ! They'd been down helping the fisherman to get his boat back in the water and he had rewarded them with beer for helping - a great payment method !
To the east of the harbour (below), you can see just how rocky it is with some quite impressive cliffs in view. The coastline along this part of East Lothian is generally quite rocky and hence I guess good sheltered mooring points must have been hard to come by - so I guess this harbour must have been pretty busy in its day.
When I was researching it online, people kept referring to it as a hidden gem, and even then it totally blew my expectations - I just didnt expect to have to go through the tunnel in the cliff to get into the harbour !
All-in-all, it was very worth the trip - we enjoyed it very much and will definitely go back again sometime.