St Abbs to Eyemouth is a three mile section of the Berwickshire Coastal Path that makes a perfect half-day stroll. A good bus service between the two towns makes this an even better option.

On 7th September a led a guided walk along this stretch for Friends of the Berwickshire Marine Reserve. Most of us caught the bus from Eyemouth at 10:05, meaning that we could meet at the Old School House in St Abbs for 10:30.

After a brief introduction to the reserve by Lauren eleven of us set off. First stop was to look out towards the now empty cliffs of St Abbs Head and out to sea. First sightings included herring gulls, black-backed gulls, shags and, in the distance, gannets.

The gannets have really struggled this year as avian 'flu ripped through their breeding area at Bass Rock to the north, so it was good to see a number of fishing parties out to sea.


We set off along the top of the cliff towards Coldingham and dropped down the steps into the bay. As we dropped down these steps admiring the early autumn fruits I was delighted to see Traveller's Joy, clematis vitalba, in full flower. I don't recall having seen this plant before and apparently it is rarer in the north. Rosehips, hawthorn and elderberries were there in great abundance and the ivy was just coming into flower. It provided much needed winter food for pollinators as well as shelter for birds.

The intention was to do some rockpooling at Coldingham, but the tide was relatively high, so not many were revealed. The few pools that were above the tide were full of sea anemones and shrimps. The entire rocky area is a home for periwinkles, barnacles and limpets. Last time I visited the pools I was pleased to see whelks and crabs too. In the spring we had some excellent views of sea hares, Aplysia punctata, grazing on the sea weed.

We were all enjoying the surprisingly good weather, (the forecast had been for drizzle) so made the most of looking across the bay. There must have been plenty of fish as the gannets were closer to shore a diving spectacularly. They were joined by terns (too far away to identify the species) and a lovely flotilla of razorbills.

Flowers and Pollinators

As we walked up the hill away from the bay we were pleased to see a flock of goldfinches and a couple of rock pipits. There were plenty of flowers too: fleabane, sea campion, yarrow, knapweed and scabious, which in turn attracted several butterfly species, including speckled woods and red admirals. The most obvious flowering plant, however, was the water mint, with wide swathes of it all along the route, very popular with bees.

We all looked out to sea hoping for some dolphins, but with no luck. However on the stretch before Linkim the shoreline hosted heron, curlew, oystercatcher, redshank and common sandpipers and out to sea a small flock of eider ducks.

Linkim Shore

We dropped down the steep steps into Linkim Shore and were pleasantly surprised at how little litter there was down there. We spend sometime in the bay enjoying the sea and sun. Apart from a very elusive stonechat there were no new bird species to note. It is quite a steep pull out of the bay and a look back at the stunning view is a good chance for a breather.

Once back on the cliff tops it is an easy walk back into Eyemouth. We stopped for a "team photo" and a  look out to sea through the tumbled-down wall. We were all looking forward to a cuppa at the Hippodrome (BMR base) so went straight on at Killiedraughts rather than go round the headland.

This was a thoroughly enjoyable walk in good company where we all pooled our knowledge of wildlife and local news.

I am planning to repeat this as a guided walk in 2023.



Traveller Joy in flower
Traveller's Joy
Mint and willow herb in flower
Looking northwards with the mint and willowherb in flower
Path up from Linkim Shore
Scabious lining the route up from Linkim Shore
Participants of the St Abbs to Eyemouth guided walk
Team photo
View across Callercove point
View across Callercove Point

I'll Be Back

More Guided walks planned in 2023.

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