Why North Berwick is be­witch­ing

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - TRAVEL & INDULGENCE - KATY BALLS

My home town is bet­ter than yours. Don’t take my word for it. This month North Berwick was crowned “best place to live’’, at least in Scot­land, thanks in part to its good schools, com­mu­nity spirit and low crime.

The news hasn’t come as a sur­prise to lo­cals — it’s a town perched be­tween an ex­tinct vol­cano and the North Sea on the south shore of the Firth of Forth, so we know it’s some­thing spe­cial. But there’s more to us than pretty streets, beaches and fish and chips.

The first thing to note is that North Berwick is in Scot­land. This may seem ob­vi­ous, but it’s of­ten con­fused with Berwick-upon-Tweed, 65km south in Eng­land. Mat­ters aren’t helped by Scots from — to bor­row a phrase from Pres­i­dent Trump — “se­ri­ous Scot­land” who find North Berwick so “posh” it ba­si­cally counts as English.

It wasn’t al­ways seen to be so grand. North Berwick had hum­ble be­gin­nings. The har­bour was built in the 12th cen­tury to ferry pil­grims cross­ing the Firth of Forth to wor­ship the relics of St An­drew in Fife. It hasn’t al­ways been the “best place to live” ei­ther, par­tic­u­larly if you were a woman in the 16th cen­tury. When the pil­grims

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