st abbs

It being a beautiful, bright day, we went walking in the Borders — around the cliffs at St Abbs Head.

The first thing we saw, in the thin winter light at the top of the harbour, was Jill Watson’s moving memorial to the Eyemouth fishing disaster.


During a terrible storm on October 14th, 1881, over 200 local men were drowned, many in plain sight of their female relatives who waited on shore.

After this sombre reminder of the human cost of Eyemouth’s spectacular landscape, we walked up over the cliffside. Out of the wind, there was just the whit whit of curlews calling inland and things were very still. It was so quiet, in fact, we could hear the jaws of these sheep steadily munching their way east:


The colours and textures of the wave-battered rocks in Starney bay were amazing:


And I was blown away by the sight of the criss-crossing coastal geology as we rounded the cliff head:


Against the stark winter sky, the tall marsh grasses we encountered by Loch Muir seemed almost exotic


There is something very special about a winter walk. A landscape can seem rather bleak at this time of year if you are passing through at speed, and particularly in the illusory bubble of a car. But on foot you find things of life and loveliness everywhere you look.

And then, as we tramped back towards the village we met . . . Nico!


Nico is owned by Peter Marshall, who runs Berwickshire Llama Trekking. You can book Nico for a breathtaking trip around the St Abbs cliffside!

On the way back down to the harbour, we made the fortuitous discovery of Woolfish. I swear I had no previous knowledge of its existence, but clearly I am able to sniff out a yarn shop at 50 miles. There was much woolly goodness inside but I only acquired 100g of some unyed DK from some local alpacas near Melrose.


It being twelfth night, and all that, this lovely walk marks the very end of our holidays and the start of (one hopes) a productive new year. . .