D4: DUNBAR – COCKBURNPATH
1st May 2018
Today miles: 10.5 Total miles: 69.9
Today is a relatively short walking day. I know today that I’ll be walking towards the massive structure of the Torness Power Station. It’s a building that I’ve driven past on 100’s of occasions in the last few years. I’m hoping that there’s a path running around the coastal edge of the site otherwise I’ll need to head inland.
I parked in Cockburnpath and jumped on board the bus to Dunbar, less then 20 minutes later I was setting off along the John Muir Link . Information on the JML is confusing with some websites saying it’s part of the original John Muir Way and others, including Walkhighlands calling it an extension added in order to link up with the Upland Way and the Berwickshire Coastal Path. Anyway I joined the path in Dunbar and as is common in this Scottish borders area I’m walking across a golf course. This particular golf course has more then the usual number of information and/or warning signs. Most of them warning walkers against straying onto the course. As an avid and experienced walker in Scotland I have a fairly good grasp of the Scotland Reform Act of 2003. I couldn’t spot anything within the document which prohibits walkers from walking across a golf course. Of course it would be completely out of order to walk across a finely manicured green or to pitch a tent on a golf course and I’d never do either of those. After the golf course I passed by the Dunbar cement works. It’s an awful looking building, churning out a continious flume off smoke but I’m always pleased to see it when I’m driving South. It my indication that I’m only an hours drive away from home. The walk continues along White Sands and then Barns Ness Lighthouse and is was pleasant walking, the soft grassy ground kind to my feet. I decided to take my first proper refreshment break close to the lighthouse. The phalic building was designed by the engineer David A Stevenson and constructed between 1899 and 1901. It only stopped working as a functional lighthouse in 2005 when it was decommissioned. I expect that I’ll be seeing lots more decommissioned lighthouses as I walk my way clockwise around the British Coastline.
Having left the lighthouse behind me I reached a war memorial at Chapel Point. I noticed that there seems to be a lot of rubbish lying around this part of the coastline. I tried to ignore it but as my frustration grew I decided to pick up as many of the offending items as I could carry. At Skateerow beach I saw several large pieces of plastic and between them they pretty much filled filled the bag. Just beyond Skaterow beach I stopped near the public toilets, managed to get rid of the bag of rubbish and heated up the water for my pot noodle. Not long after leaving the area I approached Torness power station still wondering if I’d find an easy route along the coast. I didn’t need to worry, there is an easy to walk two tier concrete promenade the entire length of the building all the way to the Thorntonloch caravan park. The sea is wild around here and it’s only subdued by the thousands of concrete tripods placed along the entire length of the sea wall.
A short section of beach walk before returning once again to the grass verge and through several farm fields. I arrived at Cove, a pretty little village of about 20 houses and no other facilities. I needed to refill my water bottles but nowhere in Cove, I’ll have to wait until I get to Cockburnpath.
On the evening of Friday 14th October 1881 a severe Europe wide windstorm struck the South Eastern coastline of Berwickshire resulting in the death of 189 fishermen. The majority of the dead were from Eyemouth but 11 men were from Cove. This was a large percentage of the 1881 Cove population. Several houses along the coastline were also destroyed. There’s a bronze memorial at Cove, a figurine of women and children looking out to sea. I sat on a wooden bench and finished the last of my water, before setting off again onto the Berwickshire Coastal Path and then the Southern Upland Way both which start/end in Cockburnpath. Only 4 hours of walking today but lots of interesting things to see. now each time I drive past the Torness power station I’ll have a completely different opinion of that ugly square building.