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Title: Craigleith  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Firth, Firth of Forth, Bass Rock, Atlantic Puffin, List of islands of Scotland, Leith (disambiguation), Isle of May, The Lamb (island), Sula II, North Berwick Harbour
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


This article is about the island in the Firth of Forth. For the suburb of Edinburgh, see Craigleith, Edinburgh.

Craigleith (Scottish Gaelic: Creag Lìte) is a small island in the Firth of Forth off North Berwick in East Lothian, Scotland. Its name comes from the Scottish Gaelic Creag Lìte meaning "rock of Leith".[1] It is 24 m at its highest point.

Geography and geology

Craigleith makes up the chain of islands near North Berwick along with Bass Rock, Fidra and The Lamb. Of the four islands it is the closest to the town's harbour. Like the other nearby islands, Craigleith is a bird colony. Divers often explore the area around the island.

Craigleith is a laccolith, a lava dome. The Lothians are dotted with evidence of ancient volcanic activity, such as the Bass Rock and Arthur's Seat. It is made up of essexite which is popular for making curling stones.[2]

History and wildlife

Historically, Craigleith was a rabbit warren, where the animals were deliberately bred for food. Rabbits were wiped out by myxomatosis in the 1950s. They were mysteriously re-introduced onto the island in 2008, and some have been seen recently.

In 1814, Sir Hew Dalrymple purchased the island from North Berwick Town Council.[2]

The puffin colony on Craigleith, once one of the largest in Britain with 28,000 pairs became endangered from 1999 onwards, due to an invasion of the non-endemic plant tree mallow, thriving with warmer winters, which choked the puffins' burrows, preventing from rearing their chicks, or "pufflings". A five year project, SOS Puffin, led by the Scottish Seabird Centre at North Berwick, was launched early in 2007 after one of the Centre's volunteers, Maggie Sheddan noticed the ever decreasing numbers of puffins. Since then, hundreds of volunteers have been working hard to rid the island of the problem, ferried out by boat from the Seabird Centre during the winter months, when the puffins are out at sea. Initial results show that there are signs that the puffins are starting to return to the island to breed. [3] Cormorants, shags and guillemots breed here. The live webcams. Daily boat trips around the island have been made since 2008.

External links

  • Report of overnight stay on the island


Coordinates: 56°04′24″N 2°43′08″W / 56.073363°N 2.718848°W / 56.073363; -2.718848

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