Scotland Flag

   St Abbs >  Google™ Map

UK > Scotland > Scottish Borders

Scotland Flag
Scottish Borders Coat of Arms

May 2015

aebbe Unknown (personal name) of saint.

Population - 120.

Scottish Borders Coat of Arms

Scuba stands for Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus.

St Abbs stands for Scuba Toting Adventurers Bring Business to St Abbs, which, as you now know, stands for Scuba Toting Adventurers Bring Business to St Abbs, which stands for Scuba Toting... Oh no! Escape! CTRL^C! It's stuck in an  infinite loop! CTRL^X?

Not that there's an infinite amount of time today despite the free parking behind Briery Law. Nor are flippers being flopped around in, neither, the real reason is to eye up some birds but before that there's a calming harbour and some chilling, local history.

There's a decent view down to where you can also park but the small fishing fleet looks to be unloading and a stand-off with a van full of haddock would rather be avoided.

St Abbs Harbour Coastal Berwickshire ; Small Craft in the Outer Harbour at St. Abbs

It's not too much of a drop to the traditional harbour where the wall awaits and welcomes you to walk along it.

Not so much a hotbed, more of a cold seabed for diving, of course, and despite this being the North Sea, conditions down there are often crystal clear.

Sub-Aqua types say it's one of the best locations around the UK, some say the world, although it's hard to imagine an encounter with a 6-foot  sunfish[1] being trumped by a grumpy-looking cod.

They do all the diving just out of shot of the harbour wall where there's some rocky old nonsense underwater to keep things interesting, apparently.

[1] Oooh, look who's been to a Sea Life™ Centre.

 
Ebbcarrs Cafe (The Harbour)

They have lobster available, when available, but plenty of less luxurious offerings, when not. Their homemade cakes are right up there, cake-wise, and the outside seating is right on the harbour.

Back up from the harbour, a reminder of a spell of bad weather along the coast in 1881 when 189 fishermen drowned. Yes, 189!

St Abbs - East Coast Fishing Disaster

The event is commemorated in bronze by Scottish artist  Jill Watson, the wives and the children of those  lost to the sea. 189? That's almost impossible to imagine and just looking at that gives you a chill.

Most of the victims were from nearby Eyemouth but Coldingham Shore didn't escape. Coldingham Shore is what's now St Abbs, you see, and no, not because of all that scuba nonsense.

Coastal Berwickshire : The Visitor Centre at St Abbs

Some old saint or other, actually, and you can find out more in the free but seasonal  Visitor Centre in the old village hall right next to you.

 
Ebba Centre (Brierylaw)

He's responsible for the name of everything here is St Æbbe only he happened to be a she. An astute politician, educator and converter of local pagans to Christianity, she founded a monastery although the exact site is disputed by archaeological sorts.

All of this in the mid-600s, which is more than you'll pay, pence-wise, for a couple of cuppas and some cake in the very reasonably priced Old School Café.

You'll find that in the Ebba Centre, a centre for the community, which itself is an old school, you see. It's an alternative to Ebbcarrs Cafe whose name doesn't sound nearly so silly now.

To the north is St Abb's Head National  Nature Reserve and HQ is less than half a mile west. It's National Trust™ run but this one's Scottish and free so the wrath that's normally reserved for Dunwich Heath has been reeled in.

It's a 40-minute walk from their car park to a lighthouse via a loch where you might stumble on the foundations of that old monastery. Highlights are the guillemots and puffins, when in season, nesting on the steep cliffs and offshore stacks.

Mire Loch at St Abb's Head Guillemots at St Abb's Head

There's a chance of the odd, offshore dolphin, they say, but that's more likely if you take the clifftop path back to St Abbs. It's not thought there are that many of them living in the loch.

Meanwhile, back near St Abbs, it's thought that you're thinking those nature reserve pics look to be borrowed from elsewhere?

Hands up to not doing it this afternoon but it has been trailed in the past. The rest of today is real so, it's not as if Someone's Telling A Bogus Blog Story.

Well, not entirely.