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" Beadnell - 3 - St Abb's Head, Scotland"

Date & start time: Friday 17th June 2016.

Location :              The south east coast of Scotland ... just over the border. ( NT 913  674 )

Places visited :    A St Abb's Head circular walk and a brief visit to St Abb's harbour afterwards.

Walk details :       3.9 mls, 800 feet of ascent,  approx 2 hours 40 mins.

Stayed at :             The Beach Court B&B, Beadnell, Northumberland, Uk.

Walked with :        Ann and myself and our dogs, Harry and Dylan

Weather :               A damp day which only got worse . . . wind blown especially at Pettico Wick.

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The poor weather forecast matched the actual weather outside but there's no point in sitting indoors while you are away on holiday.

We decide to head north, to the dramatic cliffs of St Abb's Head just north of the Scottish border.

Maybe the weather would be better there . . . and if not we've heard it is an interesting place for "Saints and Seabirds".

Crossing the border . . . where there's a handy layby to take a picture without causing road traffic problems.

We leave the A1 road to the north and head out to Eyemouth and the coast

parking at a purpose-made car park at the entrance to the national nature reserve.

The old farm house has been converted by National Trust for Scotland into a lovely information centre, cafe and craft shop.

History boards tell of the past . . .
what is happening at present . . .
and what we might see in the very near future.

Our walk started by heading north parallel to the coast doing the round trip in a clockwise direction.

Passing Northfield Farm I noticed they're using a poly-tunnel in an unusual way

. . . as a protective lambing shed for the youngsters first few days of life.

There's a tarmac road all the way to the lighthouse but we'll leave it and rejoin it later on as the walk progresses.

I think this picture gives a pretty good indication of the weather today.

These sturdy looking Suffolk (?) lambs have been out of that lambing shed for quite some time by the look of it.

One of the beauties of the walk is that it includes a visit to Mire Loch, an inland fresh water lake,

as well as the sea cliffs of the head itself . . . doubling the chances of seeing different bird species.

The lake is a reservoir formed by damming the valley many years ago.

We leave the tarmac road and head down, then along a woodland path.

A short boardwalk past the orchids . . .
classic foxgloves . . .
and interesting new growth on the larch.

No sign of the two swans on the lake that the brochure hinted at.

Oh well . . . wrong again . . . they were sheltering in the reeds just yards from the path we used.

The northernmost part of the walk reaches Pettico Wick, a major fault line in the geology.

To the west (left) the rock is softer and darker sedimentary, to the east harder pink granite volcanic . . . hence the headland.

The beach has a slipway constructed during the 1860's to land supplies for the building of the lighthouse.

A good little harbour . . . but not in any form of northerly gale !

Today's strong north-easterly wind is bringing in some rough seas and plenty of rain.

Back on the tarmac and now it is uphill towards the top of the headland.

One of 200 lighthouses around the coast of Scotland.

This one is set down on the cliff below the road but is still 65 metres above the sea.

The light is now automated and the keepers cottage privately owned but available for self-catering holidays

St Abb's is famous for its bird life as well as its scenery.

Razorbills and guillemots perch on the cliffs and rock stacks.

Difficult to tell which is which in this weather.

The sound of waves crashing ashore can be heard even above the noise of the wind.

Beautiful cliff scenery . . . especially on a nicer day !

The view south along the cliffs.

Sheltered from the worst of the weather, the old walled garden where the keepers used to grow their own food.

Looking back at the lighthouse buildings.

There's no track now, just a moorland path beyond the light.  The one couple we met on the walk preferred the longer return trip via the road

but the visitor guide clearly shows a good path all the way back to the centre.

We reached a fenced off area . . .
. . . cherished as a local habitat of rare butterflies.

The rabbits are no respecter of fences and scamper away as we approach.

He is looking as wet as we are.

A carrion crow searched for food in the grass.

They have a varied diet of carrion, insects, worms, seeds, fruit and basically whatever is available.

Horsecastle Bay where we drop down to sea level before climbing once again.

The high ground to the left is Kirk Hill, site of an early Christian settlement in the 7th century.

St Abb's head is names after Aebbe, daughter of the first king of Northumbria, and abbess to the monastery on Kirk Hill.

An old fishing marker perched high on a rock.
A passing herring gull with nest material.

The last of the sea-washed rocks in the bay is being covered by the big waves.

Hold your cursor over the picture to watch the show.

Another rocky headland just out into the sea . . . the last before the harbour of St Abb's in the distance.

A volcanic intrusion has been eroded into a narrow wall of rock at the edge of the high cliffs.

Beyond is a sheer drop into the rocks and sea below.

Closer and the town is clearer now . . . but what a rocky harbour entrance for this small but important fishing port.

- - - o o o - - -

After our walk we drove down to the town to see it in closer detail.

A wide shot from the top of town.

The breakwater has an exit through one small deep water channel . . . the lifeboat house sits on the harbour side opposite the gap.

Down at the car park at the back of the harbour.

The 104 year old lifeboat station was closed in 2015 but following an appeal and a large donation

there are plans to have a new inshore lifeboat back on station in 2016.

Good news for the town and for any local vessels in distress in these difficult waters.

- - - o o o - - -


This was the fifth and last full day of our Northumberland holiday

the last few days of which have been dogged by poorer weather

as typified by the picture of the car parked in the rain.


Hopefully we'll return again in a year or so

and manage that summer boat trip to the Farnes

that was missing this year.


We hope you have enjoyed the pictures.

- - - o o o - - -


Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's Canon Sureshot SX220, or my Canon 1100D Digital SLR.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed with . . . good wet weather gear.

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Beadnell -1- Bamburgh

Beadnell -2- Low Newton

Beadnell - 3 - St Abb's Head

Previous walk - 4th June 2016 - Beadnell -2- Low Newton

A previous time up here - 24th to 29th September 2006 Beadnell and the Northumbria Coast

Next walk - 20th June 2016 - Visitors from Oz