North Berwick Law

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North Berwick Law
East Lothian
North berwick law.jpg
North Berwick Law from the North Berwick seafront
Summit: 613 feet NT555842
56°2’55"N, 2°42’58"W

North Berwick Law or Berwick Law is a conical hill which rises incongruously from the surrounding landscape overlooking the town of North Berwick in East Lothian. The hill rises to 613 feet above sea level.

Delightfully tumulescent as it is, the hill is hard rock extruded from an ancient volcanic eruption. Geologically, the hill is a volcanic plug of hard phonolitic trachyte rock of Carboniferous (Dinantian) age.[1] It has survived the scraping glaciers of the ice age. It is a crag and tail with a prominent tail extending eastwards.

The summit also bears some ancient ruins. These buildings were once used by lookouts in the Napoleonic Wars.

A whale's jawbone famously stood on the hill from 1709 to 2005. The original had been replaced, the last erected in 1933. That jawbone at last began to rot away and collapsed in June 2005. It was removed by helicopter, much to the surprise of North Berwick residents, and has not been replaced by bone; whales being somewhat scarce and the hunting of them forbidden. On 26 June 2008 however a fibreglass replica whale bone, the same size as that which was removed in 2005, was airlifted into place to give North Berwick Law its famous landmark back.[2]


Outside links

Photos of and from North Berwick Law


  1. Read, W. A. et al. (2002) Carboniferous, page 294 in Trewin, N. H. (2002) The Geology of Scotland, 4th edition, London, The Geological Society.