Some Berwickshire-based bagging – part 1

Taking a break from holidays on the west coast of Scotland, we decided to have a family holiday with my parents in the Scottish Borders this time. I gave my son the choice of whether we stayed in a house on a farm or in lighthouse cottages. Thankfully he gave the right answer and so St Abbs it was.

A few hours after arriving on Friday evening, there was a beautiful sunset, which surprised me as I’d not quite got my bearings and it appeared to me that the sun was setting in the north.

Of course I couldn’t miss the opportunity to see St Abbs Lighthouse flashing. The lens has now been covered by a big sheet here and the light source is now one of the LED “puddings”. So sadly no sweeping beam, but still a joy to see.

St Abbs Lighthouse at sunset

I took a closer look at the lighthouse and old foghorn yesterday in the glorious sunshine. The tiny tower was great to see close up and it’s always nice to see a foghorn still in situ. St Abbs has the benefit of being relatively close to Edinburgh, where the Northern Lighthouse Board has their head office, and this proximity without the need for a boat means the station has often been used in the past for testing new practices and technology.

What really makes St Abbs so special is the incredible coastline. I remembered it very fondly from my first visit back in 2012 when it was the first Scottish lighthouse I visited on my tour. That day was also particularly sunny and the tall cliffs were certainly a good introduction to Scotland’s coastal scenery.

St Abbs Lighthouse

I was also delighted to find yesterday morning that Barns Ness Lighthouse is visible from St Abbs too and out of the cottage window last night I spotted the flashing of the lighthouse on the Isle of May. The light from the wonderful tower on the Isle of May is very powerful and I enjoyed seeing just how bright it was from Arbroath in recent years. Seeing it from so far south though was excellent. Bass Rock is visible from here too, but the light is perhaps not strong enough to reach St Abbs.

This evening’s sunset view towards the north west

This afternoon I’ve done plenty more exploring around the area. The aim was to check out the old jetty at Pettico Wick Harbour just down the road, which was reportedly built for landing supplies for the lighthouse. However, the coastal paths were a bit distracting. There’s only one way to describe the views and that is in pictures so here are a few.

Returning to the road, the view across Mire Loch, which I remembered so well from the first visit, was stunning. The loch is manmade, created around 1900 for leisure purposes.

Mire Loch

There was a surprisingly good little path down to the old jetty. It quickly deteriorated though after rock falls in the area and you can clearly see that rocks underneath the jetty have been washed away. We passed a few warning signs on the way there. It’s a great little cove and the rock formations on the east side were very impressive.

Approaching the jetty at St Abbs

Lured by the loch I decided we should take the loch side route back. This was an interesting little path, overgrown in some places and open in others, and even a small tree-lined stretch at one point.

The rather overgrown route on the east side of the loch

At the end of the loch the path meets the main walking route to the lighthouse. Following this track, we took one last detour for a closer look at the old walled garden used by the lighthouse keepers and their families. It is all very overgrown now, but it’s a huge area in a sheltered spot.

The view of the lighthouse from the south
Approaching the old lighthouse garden
Inside the garden at St Abbs

I’m looking forward to seeing what the coming days bring here and whether it does actually ever rain at St Abbs! 🙂