A Winter Walk from Coldingham Bay to St Abbs

I love fresh Sundays, and when I say fresh, I don’t just mean not hungover. I mean fresh air, daylight, actually doing stuff.  Never mind your ‘day of rest’ malarky, I like to make the most of Sundays. For me, it’s all about a tip-top breakfast to start you off, before bouncing out the front door with springs on your heels, ready to see what see what this half of the weekend has got to offer. I especially like going for a wee drive. I mean, what’s the harm in fooling yourself into thinking you’re off on an epic road trip? So what if you’re staying within your city’s postcode and are back to work the next day.

Starting from now, I’m going report back in my ‘Sunday Adventures’ whenever I scoot off somewhere within a day-trip vicinity of Edinburgh. Last Sunday’s myself, the fella and my two friends set on a late afternoon trip to Coldingham Bay. For anyone who isn’t familiar, it’s in the Borders on the east coast and it looks like the picture below.

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Everybody knows that Scotland’s west coast is stunning, especially when the sun highlights the powdery white sands and vibrant turquoise water. But what about the east coast? Coldingham Bay had no sunshine or tropical looking attributes the day I visited, but it was still beautiful in a shabby-chic kinda way. The off-white, cotton wool clouds and and earthy coloured scenery was exactly how a Scottish beach should look in the month of February.

In the summer months, visitors arrive at this pretty seaside spot in their masses, hardly surprising given the beach’s impressive blue flag status. I envisage children paddling in the sea, BBQs on the beach, and the cutesy beach huts regaining their purpose once more.

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For the best views of the surroundings, visitors can climb steps to overlook the bay, and join The Berwickshire Coastal Path to the nearby village of St Abbs. It was from this elevated point that I could really appreciate the rebellious waves churning onto the shore and nudging the coastline’s rugged rocks.

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Exposed to the brisk wind, I felt invigorated and surprisingly unfazed by the chilly temperature; for that I thank my cosy, woollen hat. The coastal path was quiet and easy on the eye, taking just 15/20 minutes at a slow pace along to St Abbs. Just incase you fancy a wee break away the way, there are suitable seating arrangements in place, great views too. From the beach, you can also take the trail in the opposite direction, southwards to Eyemouth.

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Arriving in St Abbs, I felt like I was on the set of some small town, post-apolocalpse movie. There was not another soul to be seen, just empty streets, a row of little houses and a vintage looking Post Office. Once a bustling fishing village, St Abbs is now full of holiday homes, meaning that the year-round community is just a wee one. A woman walking her dog passed us on our way to the harbour, proving that we weren’t completely alone, and that there are no resident zombies. Phew!

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Both the vintage and borderline creepy theme continued down to the harbour, which in the atmospheric conditions looked rather ghostly. The random red phone box and nautical titbits gave the village character and vibrance on even the dullest of days.

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We left the harbour and strolled through the deserted streets back towards the coastal path, passing the most haunted looking house I’ve ever seen! Coldingham Bay’s wild scenery in sight, we took a different route back to the car, down a country lane and through wooden gates and an archways of trees.

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How very Hitchcock!

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Back in the warmth of the car, we had one thing on our minds… FISH ‘N’ CHIPS. Luckily, the fishing town of Eyemouth was all but a 10 minute drive away. Arriving at the misty harbour, just as it was getting dark, we made a beeline for Mackay’s chippy. The scran was top notch and I particularly appreciated that they hand you the bottle of chippy sauce to douse your own supper!

Jumping in the back seat for the hour long journey back to Edinburgh, I knew I wouldn’t make it home without a wee snooze. Of course I blame the salty sea air, rather than my belly full of deep fried goodness!

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While Coldingham Bay and St Abbs are clearly most popular as summertime destinations, the beauty of visiting in the off-season is that you can really see the beach and the village without a blanket of visitors. That’s not to say I won’t be back on a Sunday Adventure in a few months to enjoy the Scottish sunshine and see the area come to life against a backdrop of blue sky. Maybe I’ll stop in some places on route.

Any suggestions?

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