St Abb’s to Pettico Wick

St Abb’s to Pettico Wick and return via Mire Loch (3.5 miles)

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The Berwickshire Coastline with Bass Rock in the far distance

 

(3.5 miles)

It’s me! Some recent lovely comments on my site made me decide to have another go.  Walking is slow and distances are short for me at the moment which is frustrating – but when the weather is being kind, as it was on the coast today, I suppose it doesn’t matter so much if you can’t walk fast or too far!

 

We usually walk around St Abb’s Head from the village and return via Mire Loch, missing out Pettico Wick.  Today we decided to go and have a look at this little cove starting from the National Trust Car Park just before you get to St Abb’s village and walking through the farm and out along the ‘Discovery Trail’ before diverting along the ‘Lighthouse Loop’ to the sea at Pettico Wick.  It’s all really well marked, the views are lovely – ahead and looking back towards St Abb’s and Coldingham Bay.

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Pettico Wick

Pettico Wick – no idea why this pretty bay is called this, apart from that an alternative name is listed by Canmore (Historic Environment Scotland) – Pettycarwick Bay – so it’s probably just got shortened over time and is now known as Pettico Wick. It’s a tiny harbour with a pier which was built so that supplies for the St Abb’s lighthouse could be landed. We didn’t venture down as there were lots of divers milling about preparing to set off on an exploration of the waters.

The coastal habitat here is a Voluntary Marine Reserve and is protected and part of a European Marine Site.  Apparently there are offshore forests of dense seaweed and the area is full of a mix of Atlantic and Arctic plant and animal species.  You can sometimes see dolphin here and we’ve seen a porpoise previously.

We reach the coast and walk a little way along the coast path northwards to see the thousands of guillemots nesting on the cliffs – they’re tightly packed together on the ledges. Puffins, kittiwakes and razorbills are also known to nest here but it’s hard to make them out amongst the hoard of guillemots – collective noun: A Bazaar of Guillemots –   that’s just what it sounds like too!  It’s unwise to get too close to the cliff edge for obvious reasons (!) but also because we know that breeding success in guillemots and kittiwakes is reduced by the presence of people, who cause the nesting birds stress (shown by raised heart rate) and a related energy loss which may lead them to desert their nests.  I don’t have my real camera today so can’t get good pictures of them but here’s one I took another day!

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Why do they all face the cliff instead of the sea?

We head back inland along the shore of Mire Loch passing by the reed beds (those black clouds just drifted away!)IMG_1520.JPG

and spotting what we thought might be a reed warbler chattering away.  Looking it up in my book later though, it seems that reed warblers are rare this far north so I think it was probably a sedge warbler – it had that distinctive white stripe above his eye.  They like reed beds and marshes with some trees and bushes, so its perfect for him here.  This is a first for me – never seen one before! No camera!!

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It’s getting warm as we head on through the wooded path and I’m beginning to wish I’d left the extra layers at home!  There are plenty of insects enjoying the sunshine including this moth – known as Mother Shipton because it’s wing pattern is said to look like an old witch, you have to look at it for a long time and turn it about a bit but could be I suppose:

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There are also lots of wild flowers and I’ve just got my phone which doesn’t do flowers and insects very well.

I did manage a good picture of the brightly coloured Northern Marsh-orchid which seems to be doing well here:

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And have a look at the lovely Scots Pine cones and flowers:

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We saw the swans nesting last time we were here – and this time they were guarding 5 cygnets from the hovering gulls.  Swimming not far away was a little troop of golden-eye duck – so pretty! So needed my camera!!

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There’s a steep uphill climb on the way back and I’m slowing down even more. The best way to deal with being slow I’ve found is to pretend you just wanted to take another picture:

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Mr M pretending he’s looking for something on the path and not at all wondering how far behind I am!

The hills around here are full of sheep and they roam freely – or laze about – whichever takes their fancy:

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He’s lovely and knows it!

 

At last I can drag my sore feet through the car park and down to the Old Smiddy Coffee Shop where we stop for a cup of tea and admire the nasturtiums outside of the lovely Number Four Gallery where Mr M dropped of some more arty stuff earlier today….

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So there we are, I hope you enjoyed reading about this walk.  I just wanted to give a trio of mentions:

to the St Abb’s Ranger who writes a blog, A Day in the (Wild) Life, which is full of lovely photos and interesting info! I notice s/he’s not posted since November last year but hopefully s/he’s just been super busy and will be back soon!

https://stabbsrangers.blogspot.com/2018/

to the National Trust for Scotland for the amazing information/visitor centre at St Abb’s which is full of interesting and very useful (for me) information boards, ‘what you might see’ books and leaflets:

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And to Mr M for this beautiful painting of Mire Loch – which of course we don’t get to keep – it’ll be part of his exhibition in The Robson Gallery, Halliwell House, Selkirk from 16th July and you can see it – and more – there:

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Mire Loch by Andrew Major

 

Coldingham Priory circular via St Abbs

Date: 21st September 2016

Route: From Coldingham village to Coldingham Sands, along the coast path to St Abbs and back to Coldingham via the Creel Path.

Distance: 6.39km/4miles


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In 616AD Aethelfrith, first King of Northumberland, was killed in battle.  His family, including his daughter Æbbe fled northwards finally settling on Iona where they were converted to Christianity. Later Æbbe established a community of monks and nuns at Kirkhill – now known as St Abb’s Head.

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Smailholm and the Tower

Sunday, 14th August 2016

Hello!

A visit to The Gallery in the hamlet of Smailholm to preview their latest exhibition – Hive of Creativity ( http://www.kinsman-blakeceramics.co.uk ), gave us a chance to follow up with a walk to Smailholm Tower.  Both are well worth the effort! DSCN3601.JPG

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The Eildon Hills and Mrs Buller’s Explosive Views….

Thursday 21st July 2016

Hello

The walk to Mrs Buller’s Seat which is in the Cicerone Walker’s Guide to The Border Country begins with the following phrase: “A wistful linear stroll from Sir Walter Scott’s favoured viewpoint……”.  Now, if this is ringing bells with you – you get top marks, because we started this walk once before (read about it here: In Scott’s Footsteps ) and cut it short exactly because, along the way, we discovered it was ‘linear’!  So what happened this time?   Continue reading

Local walking…..

Thursday, 14th July 2016

Hello again!

Two blogs in one week!!  What next?!

Mr RR and I are on the local community association ‘Paths group’ which means we’re trying to get some local paths opened up around the village to encourage walkers and to allow local people access to some lovely countryside.  It’s a slow process though and currently there are only a couple of routes within walking distance of the village. I took myself off along one of these today – a 4 mile circular walk along quiet roads. Sometimes you can see hares but not today – I need to get out earlier next time. Continue reading

Coldstream and The Hirsel

12th July 2016

Hello!!

It’s been a while I know, but here’s another ramble…..I promise to try and pick up the pace a bit and walk more!!  That’s enough about that!

This morning we followed a walk from a little book called ‘The Scottish Borders – 40 favourite walks’ by Robbie Porteous.  Part of it we’ve done before and you can read about it here: The Hirsel Country Park.  This walk begins in the town of Coldstream and wends its way along the banks of the River Tweed and through Dundock Woods before reaching The Hirsel. Continue reading

The Borders Abbeys Way

Hello

I started on a new project yesterday – I do love a project! I thought I’d walk The Borders Abbeys Way and then go on and walk the other ‘ways’.  There’s St Cuthbert’s Way and The Southern Upland Way and lots more I’m sure.   Continue reading