D5: English Coastal Path


 Friday 11th May 2018

Today miles: 19.2          Total miles:  88.9

The next few days I’ll be covering ground that I’ve walked many times before, now that I’m entering my home county of Northumberland. Over the next two days I’m planning on completing the Berwickshire Coastal path which runs from Cockburnpath in Scotland to Berwick-Upon-Tweed in England. I’ve completed this walk twice before in either direction and some might wander why I’m doing it again. Two reasons 1) It’s a really nice walk and 2) it’s necessary to comply with my rules for walking the English Coastal Path. The route is straightforward and well way marked. There’s pretty fishing villages, dramatic cliffs with plenty of ascent and descent to test the legs. Straight away today I noticed the wind had picked up considerably and would be smacking me in the face for most of today. Passing thought the Pease Bay caravan park I decided to leave the official Berwickshire Coastal path, it wandered to far inland for my liking and it’s unnecessary. Instead I stuck to the coastline as best I could. This meant plodding my way through several rough fields close to the old Cambus Quarry and then reaching a row of pretty cottages near Redheugh Farm. A noisy sheep dog came running towards me completely unimpressed that I had the ordasity to walk onto his land, he escorted me off the farm barking continuously.

The last time I walked through this section of the coast I was made to divert several times to avoid cows and their calves, on this occasion the fields were occupied with gentler sheep and playful lambs. The next few miles were easy until reaching Castle Head where I had to head inland to avoid the deep rocky gorge at Dowlaw Dean. The gorge is a steep 30 metre ravine down into Dowlaw Burn. I did consider attempting to ascend down the sides but it’s too steep and overgrown to seriously consider. So I had to mess around for the next hour before eventually rejoining the Coastal cliffs at Rough Heugh. There were lots more ascents and descents until I finally arrived in Pettico Wick.

The road leads to St Abbas and I was hoping to grab a hot drink and a proper refreshment break at Ebbcarrs Cafe. It was 4.45pm and website says it closes at 5pm. When I arrive I can see that there already packing away and there’s a disapproving look as I walked through the door. Thankfully staff agreed to sell me a hot coffee and a piece of malteser cake which I gratefully accepted. I duly sat outside and devoured my snack. Minutes later the front door was closed and I was left alone, in no rush to move forward. At Hallodown Dean and Fleurs Dean there’s another deep gorge which means a kilometres walk inland. There is a way market pointing to the beach which I stupidly ignored. By the time I’d realised my mistake I’d already walked inland a significant distance inland, rather then walk back I just walked/slid down the side of the gorge. Not easy with a heavy backpack. As I clambered up the opposite side my mobile began to ring. Having steadied myself I answered the call from my niece Emily. Mum has taken ill and I need to urgently contact my dad. Having reached the top of the cliffs I immediately contacted my dad and got an update, Mum’s OK.

The path to the Eastern edge of Eyemouth is easy and it’s not long before I’m entering the town and searching for something to eat. Before then I made a quick visit to Eyemouth Fort, originally built by the English and improved by the French it now consists of a series of grassy mounds and divots, with a couple of old field cannons for company. It’s too early to wildcamp so after visiting a CO-OP store I settled into a local pub with a cold pint of IPA.

An hour later I leave Eyemouth and head for the cliffs on the edge of the Towns golf course. It’s getting dark and having cleared the golf course I start searching for somewhere to set up camp. I soon found a nice flat piece of land away from the wind, I can hear the nearby gannet colony but I’m sure they’ll settle once the sun goes down.

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