Did mystery ‘cave dweller’ build beach campsite?

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A mystery campsite at a beach-side cave - featuring a visitor book, outdoor seating and gym - has left locals scratching their heads over who built it, after it was claimed that a man had even been living there for a time.

Boasting stunning views of the Firth of Forth, this beach-front property offers adventurous souls the unique chance to turn Robinson Crusoe.

The doorway to the cave opens on to the front 'garden' and nearby Yellowcraigs beach. Picture: Julie Bull

The doorway to the cave opens on to the front 'garden' and nearby Yellowcraigs beach. Picture: Julie Bull

The designer driftwood cave has mysteriously sprung up on a beach near a posh East ­Lothian golf course.

A number of people are believed to have stayed at the remote spot in the last few weeks – though no-one is sure who built the shabby Crusoe-esque bolthole.

It’s easy to see why people may be keeping it quiet.

With its outdoor gym, alfresco seating and designer driftwood feel it offers an amazing outlook on to Fidra, an uninhabited island which is said to have inspired Robert Louis Stevenson’s adventure classic Treasure Island.

In fact, its decor could be best described as “pirate chic”, with the way its builders have made use of fishing ropes, logs and rocks to achieve its ­irreverent but homely effect.

A unique take on a lease agreement – a scribbled note which outlines the “rules” of staying there – further reveals Superman may be as much a source of inspiration as the Louis Stevenson novel. The message reads: “Welcome to the Fortress of ­Solitude. We hope you have fun and enjoy your stay. Please don’t wreck the place and please take your rubbish away. Thanks.”

In the Superman comic books, the Fortress of Solitude is the name given to the Man of Steel’s secret crystal ice base. However, the only thing icy about this open-plan dwelling is likely to be the plunging winter temperatures.

But this hasn’t prevented a number of visitors from making laudatory comments in an on-site visitor book.

Robert G wrote, “What a place! Fantastic! Thanks,” after making use of the facilities on November 8. While Greg McMillan, from Ottawa, Canada simply wrote: “Footsteps on the beach today. I am not alone!”

Other guests have attracted some unwanted local attention after becoming a little carried away by the castaway spirit.

One dog walker, who asked not to be named, said: “I think a man had been living there for quite a while. He used to go skinny dipping in the sea.”

Other local sources said the spot has attracted youths and drifters to the beach.

Perched on top of terraced steps leading up from the beach, the cave is not easy to find.

Its open-plan living room features original sand flooring while the brick-built “cooker” creates an informal dining area perfect for shipwrecked guests to gather round the fire to enjoy the catch of the day.

In its spacious larder, a wall of lobster cages can store food supplies and ensure that any of your more lively ‘shopping’ does not walk off by itself.

The indoor gym is fairly basic, with just a punching bag hanging from a wooden rafter, but daily jogs by the sea are sure to maintain that castaway look.

This address does not include a bathroom, although numerous bushes and large rocks are helpfully situated nearby – and of course, being built from reclaimed wood – the pad is environmentally friendly.

Just a half-an-hour walk west from the Yellowcraigs beauty spot, it is situated to the rear of the tenth hole of The Renaissance Club, an exclusive golf course in Archerfield Estate, where a membership bond costs £75,000. Despite its proximity, it is understood club membership is not included in the terms.

Local councillor David Berry said: “I would think that piece of land would be owned by the Archerfield Estate. The council don’t own the beach itself, but manage it under the Countryside Ranger Service. We’ve been involved in quite strong negotiations over the years with Archerfield to ensure they provide proper public access to the beach. I suspect they are not bothered one way of the other as it does not interfere with their grounds.

“I can’t actually think of a better place to build such a place for someone wanting to play Robinson Crusoe for a while. Gullane Bents and Yellowcraigs are both very popular but that stretch of rocky coastline in between is actually a very isolated place if you are looking for solitude. It’s a nice idea and I suspect whoever built it might have done so for kids to have an adventure there. I would rather it had stayed a little local secret that a few people could discover and enjoy.”

Archerfield Estate did not respond to a request for comment. An Edinburgh school listed in the cave’s visitor book was also unable to say who was behind the “new build”.

Beach popular with locals and holidaymakers

THE stretch of beach now housing the unusual residence has been managed by East Lothian Council since 1944 and is monitored by its Countryside Ranger Service.

The coastline between nearby Gullane beach and Yellowcraigs was made a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in 1967.

The area has a long history of public use and remains a popular with local residents and visitors.Funding towards the Ranger Service has been provided by the Archerfield Links and Renaissance Club golf courses adjoining the beach. The service works to protect the natural habitat and ensure public access.