After a restful night at Rhovanion B&B in Coldingham, David and I laced up our hiking boots, grabbed our trekking poles and headed towards the coast.
Today we’d be exploring a portion of the Berwickshire Coastal Path – a 28-1/2 mile hiking route which works its way from Cockburnspath to Berwick – taking in dramatic cliff top scenery complete with arches, stacks and crumbling castles.
With the second highest cliffs on the east coast of Scotland, this area boasts one of the most dramatic coastlines in Britain.
A scenic one-mile walk down the Creel Path from Coldingham to St. Abbs would connect us to the main coastal route, where we’d be making a 4-mile loop that would take us past St. Abb’s Head and Pettico Wick before returning us to the Visitor’s Center.
The Creel Path has a long history, having been in daily use for over a thousand years. It is said that men from Fisher’s Brae in Coldingham worked their boats from St. Abbs shore and carried their fishing gear down the well worn pathway, later returning with creels of fish.
One portion of the path had me feeling like I’d just entered Hobbiton – complete with an enclosed canopy that created this amazing circular tunnel.
From ancient times, until the early twentieth century the east coast of Scotland was home to a massive herring industry, with tens of thousands of workers migrating – often on foot – up and down the coast following the herring shoals and the attendant fishing fleet.
It was amazing to think that we were walking the same route, but this time, out of pure enjoyment.
Our first glimpse of St. Abbs, Scotland. Even on this overcast day, the green fields were vibrant!
Starting down the Berwickshire Coastal path.
We arrived in St. Abbs to find this quaint little harbor with it’s extensive set of sea walls – protecting it from the fury of the North Sea.
A view to the north, past the harbor and towards the rocky coastline.
The scenery is dramatic and quite beautiful, but the sea has a wildness about it that even this lovely day can’t disguise.
A large and well-placed estate perched high above the rocky coastline.
After heading around the massive estate, we found ourselves at the start of the circular route.
Entering the St. Abb’s Head National Nature Preserve
This picture doesn’t quite capture the beauty nor the height of these rocky promontories.
Not being a lover of heights, I found myself praying that I wouldn’t be blown off the cliff top by a large gust of wind – an unfortunate but common accident.
After climbing steadily uphill, we were amply rewarded with an amazing view of St. Abb’s harbor.
Lovely but dangerous dropoffs!
You may not be able to tell from this photo, but the cliffs depicted here are about 60 meters (over 180 feet) tall.
Watching a dive boat out on the water. This area offers some of the best diving in all of Britain.
More colonies of sea birds nesting on the cliffs and in the crags.
Looking south towards St. Abbs – the view from up here was amazing!
On the coastal path and arriving at St. Abb’s Head lighthouse – situated on a rocky promontory approximately 80 meters (240 feet) above sea level.
An aerial view of the coastline and the lighthouse (not taken by me) that adequately depicts the ruggedness of the coast.
Meeting some furry friends along the way.
Chatting with some others folks who had walked up from St. Abb’s harbor for a bit of bird watching.
Looking north to Tun Law Forts – the highest cliffs on the Berwickshire coast.
Our first glimpse of Pettico Wick Bay…beautiful!
Another view of Pettico Wick…simply stunning!
In the foreground, the hillsides are covered in wild flowers. In the background, the hillsides are covered with tiny cows!
Coming down off the hills and towards the path that’ll take us to the visitor’s center.
Taking a fiver at a quaint little cafe in St. Abb’s while waiting for our Cullen Skink – a soup made with smoked haddock.
David taking one last look at the harbor before heading back to our B&B in Coldingham.
Back on the Berwickshire Coastal path – this time headed south towards Coldingham Bay.
I fell in love with this beautiful home, boasting an amazing view of the North Sea.
Coldingham Bay and its secluded and awarding-winning beach - popular with the local surfers!
Another glimpse of Coldingham Bay beach. Can you see the surfers on their boards?
As I’m writing this blog post, I find myself still haunted by one particular image from that day on the Berwickshire coast. While walking through St. Abbs, David & I came upon this bronze cast- a memorial - depicting a group of women and children looking out towards the sea. As fate would have it, this coast of Scotland suffered a tragic maritime accident that surpassed even the Edmund Fitzgerald.
Black Friday, October 14, 1881 commemorates the worst fishing disaster in Scotland’s history. A ferocious hurricane devastated the fishing fleet off the east coast and claimed 189 lives.
This hauntingly beautiful sculpture (one of four) was created to depict the exact number of women that were widowed (93) and children left fatherless (267) – looking out to sea for their loved ones that never returned.
TO BE CONTINUED…