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A Walk Along Berwickshire's Smugglers' Coast

This year we launched our shortest walking trail yet: the 39 mile long Berwickshire Coastal Path. But size isn't everything! What the trail lacks in length, it more than makes up for in other ways, and I made the short journey from Edinburgh to find out more. 

Beach in Berwickshire Berwickshire coastline

With only a few short days to prove itself, the trail certainly didn’t disappoint, showcasing some of Britain's finest coastal scenery. Here’s a rundown of why you should experience it for yourself ...

Dramatic Coastline

The trail takes in some jaw-dropping sections of Scotland’s coastline. At St Abbs Head, some of the highest sea cliffs in Britain drop hundreds of feet into the surf below - thankfully a safe distance from the trail. The sea arches at Pettico Wick, the quiet beach at Coldingham Sands, and the concealed quay at Cove Harbour make for a coastline which demands to be photographed.

The hidden coves dotted along the coast made the area a haven for smuggling, and the town of Eyemouth was once crisscrossed by a network of underground alleys used to smuggle tea, wine, and gin. Everyone was at it - even local aristocrat John Nisbet who was a merchant by day and smuggler by night. He lived at Gunsgreen House overlooking Eyemouth Harbour - now a superb museum where you can learn about the area's fascinating history. 

 Cove Harbour Gunsgreen House, Eyemouth

Remote but Accessible

Unlike many walking trails in Scotland, the Berwickshire Coastal Path doesn’t require much travel. Hop on a train from Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital city, and you’ll arrive at the start of the trail at Dunbar before the drinks trolley has made it down the aisle. And yet, there’s a great feeling of remoteness along this trail which you’ll often have completely to yourself. On my walk, I went for hours on end without seeing another soul - bliss!

Dunbar Harbour Peace and tranquility

A Good First Trail

For those with less experience of long-distance walking, this relatively easy trail makes a perfect first venture into the addictive world of long-distance walking. The route only requires 3 or 4 days of walking (see our itineraries and prices) and involves only a modest amount of ascent. And being a coastal walk, I certainly never found the navigation to be tricky - just keep the sea on your left!

Winding trail on the Berwickshire Coastal Path Sheep on the Berwickshire Coastal Path

The Missing Link

The Berwickshire Coastal Path can easily be combined with another trail to extend your walking holiday. From the end of the trail at Berwick-upon-Tweed, you could continue south on the Northumberland Coast Path to discover the sandy beaches and wonderful castles of north east England. Or why not continue from Dunbar onto the John Muir Way to discover one of Scotland's newest and most varied long-distance walking trails?

John Muir Link waymarker Berwickshire Coastal Path waymarker

Picturesque Fishing Villages

On top of its natural beauty, this coastline is dotted with bustling, charming fishing villages. Colourful fishing boats are packed into busy quays at St Abbs and Eyemouth, which are a hive of activity throughout the day. These havens offer shelter not just for ships, but for weary walkers too - I highly recommend berthing at Ebb Carr's Cafe in St Abbs to refuel.

St Abbs Village Eyemouth Harbour

Whether you’re looking to try your first walking holiday, you’ve been inspired to walk along some of Britain’s most beautiful coastline, or you’re simply short of time - I recommend you look no further than the Berwickshire Coastal Path.

James Fathers
P.S. Keen to see more of the beautiful Berwickshire coast? Check out our online photo album!
 

St Abbs Head

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