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Dirleton in Winter

Dirleton winter sunset

Dirleton sunrise towards Berwick Law: photo Anne Orr

Click on the topics below for more wintry topics!
Sea Buckthorn - Dirleton's superfood
Doocots - East Lothian's winter meat stores
Explore the Dirleton Caves - a winter walk
Winter Recipes

Dirleton village has entered its annual quarter of relative rest. Summer’s birdlife has long flown south leaving blackbirds, song thrushes, robins and starlings to haunt the garden tables. The countryside can be cold and windswept, but there’s nowhere cosier than Dirleton village. Small animals such as dormice and hedgehogs hibernate in dens fashioned from strands of fur, fluff and other insulating materials. The sharpness of the air invigorates walks, and fallen leaves are a natural carpet beneath the shuffle of feet. Our hands may be cold, but we return home, faces burnished with effort, ready for a warming mug of our favourite drink.

Many of the fields around Dirleton have been ploughed to a fine brown tilth, or sown with overwintering crops. But in an area renowned for vegetable growing, there are still fields of steely grey/green leeks, that are gradually harvested in strips. And there is a Christmassy feel to the regiments of sprouts with their curly tops waiting to be cut for seasonal dinners.

At the shore, the sea buckthorn is gradually stripped of its leaves, and on fine days the bright orange berries glow against a blue sky. Shy flocks of fieldfare and redwings scatter away from hedges into the fields as you approach.

Although most of the autumn geese move on, there are still groups to be seen busy feeding in the fields in daytime, or small groups of migratory swans taking advantage of puddles in muddy fields. And with less people on the shore to disturb them, seabirds gather on the rocky outcrops at Yellowcraig.

All planets visible to the unaided eye look like stars. In November and December Venus, Jupiter and Mars light up the predawn sky. The most noticeable planet throughout the winter months is dazzling Venus, also known as the 'Morning Star' and the third brightest body in the sky after the sun and moon.. Look east before dawn! You can’t miss it. In the same part of the sky, you’ll notice Jupiter, the second-brightest planet.

Thank you to Fred McClintock for his contributions to Dirleton in Winter