Berwickshire Coastal Path
Start: Cockburnspath, Scotland
End: Berwick-upon-Tweed, England
Distance: 28 miles (45km)
Time: 2-4 days
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Surface: Paths, Trails, Dirt Roads
Download the Berwickshire Coastal Path Trail Guide HERE
It’s not often you pass a revolutionary milestone in the history of science, but that happens as you approach Siccar Point shortly after departing Cockburnspath on the Berwickshire Coastal Path. It was here in 1788 that geologists James Hutton and James Hall, and mathematician John Mayfair, hired a boat and confirmed Hutton’s Theory of the Earth. After observing horizontal layers of a segment of young, coastal red sandstone that overlaid older, steeply pitched, sedimentary rocks called Greywacke, they contradicted the creationists’ “Young Earth” theory. Those same rocks are still there, and should not be missed as you walk this wonderful trail.
From the sedimentary wonders of Sidecar Point, it’s on to St. Helen’s Church with its links to the Reformation, as you head south and slightly inland. A side trail takes you to the remains of fifteenth-century Fast Castle, four miles (6.4 km) northwest of Coldingham atop its lonely, rounded promontory that was visited by Mary Queen of Scots in 1566 and provided the inspiration for Sir Walter Scott’s “Wolf’s Crag” in his novel The Bride of Lammermoor (1819).
Then it’s up over Tun Law-at 492 feet (150 m), the highest sea cliff in east Britain-and the site of two Iron Age forts, before visiting Gunsgreen House, designed by John Adams and built in the 1750s by smuggler John Nisbet. The Berwickshire Coastal Path makes a short detour down Creel Path near St. Abbs, where fishermen once carried their gear to their boats, Continuing through the St. Abbs Head Nature Reserve, a series of easy descents lead from farmlands to beaches. Pause in Eyemouth’s reinvigorated harbor, then cross the English border into Berwick-upon-Tweed.