Dunbar to Tyninghame. 9 miles

June 27, 2005

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John Muir Way Walk Guide

John Muir Way Guide Book

From Dunbar Harbour follow the cliff top trail around past the golf course until you come to the bridge crossing the Tyne. I decided to follow the John Muir trail although at low tide you could cross the Tyne by wading across thereby saving a long walk to the Tyninghame bridge across the Tyne which adds about 5 miles to the journey! (I crossed the Tyne quite safely coming back at the sandbank near the Spit of land at the end of the John Muir Country Park- but be careful as I dont know how fast the tide comes in at this point) The John Muir trail follows the estuary and eventually crosses the Tyne at the Tyninghame bridge on the A198. (at this point the John Muir trail heads west to East Linton). You must carry up the A198 and walk along the long straight road called the Limetree walk until the car park is reached. From here there is a short bridle path which takes you to the beach at Tyne Sands where this walk ends.

This was a straight forward short walk around the Tyne Estuary. I could see across the mud flats at my end point, which was at most half a mile distance, but because I had to follow the Estuary all the way around it was almost a 5 mile “detour”. At first it was frustrating knowing that I would have to take the long road around, but then I realised that Scotland is full of sea lochs, especially on the west coast, which will throw up this problem time and time again.

I reminded myself that it was the journey that was important and not striving for the finishing point every day and that I would have to be very relaxed about reaching the finish. A metaphor for one’s life I suppose.

Also see map of this area and more photos

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Pease Bay to Dunbar. 11 miles

June 21, 2005

Barns Ness Lighthouse

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DIRECTIONS:

John Muir Way Walk Guide

John Muir Way Guide Book

Follow the road north up from the caravan park which is now part of the Southern Upland Way (SUW) After about half a mile there is a SUW sign post across the road from a house and a small ruined church which is overgrown with vegetation. Follow the SUW path round till the small village of Cove is reached. Pass through Cove village and follow the road until it meets a roundabout where it meets the A1. Walk across the A1 and cross the bridge which spans the deep gorge at Dunglass. Just past the bridge pass some cottages and carry on till you reach the Mill house. At this point there is a sign for the John Muir trail which will be followed up past Dunbar until it heads inland for a time. The path follows some dense undergrowth that leads down to the beach near Bilsdean Creek. From here the John Muir walk is well sign-posted and skirts the farmand above the beaches until it reaches Thortonloch caravan park. From here it follows the walkway around the Torness power station, Skateraw harbour and on to Barns Ness Lighthouse. From the lighthouse, it is s straight forward walk along past the golf course an on to Dunbar where this walk ends.

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This walk was a pleasant one albeit a walk part of which goes around a Nuclear Power Station. It actually took me about an hour just to walk around this, it was so massive. There are two walkways around the power station and there were a few fishermen fishing off the warm outlet pipes. Presumably they were trying to catch two headed fish.

I had to retrace my steps for about 2 miles later on as I had left part of my trousers behind in a shelter at the golf course outside Dunbar. I had bought a pair of trousers with detachable legs, (because thats the kind of guy I am), and I left the legs behind. Fortunately the legs hadnt “walked” on my way back to get them, but I will have to be more careful as the extra 3 miles there and back didnt help much.

Dunbar is quite a nice seaside town and I took the chance to have a look around the John Muir birthplace museum which has fairly recently been set up. John Muir was probably the first real environmentalist and he persuaded President Roosevelt in the US to set up America’s first National Park at Yosemite.

More Photos


Telegraph Hill to Pease Bay. 3 miles

June 20, 2005

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DIRECTIONS:

John Muir Way Walk Guide

John Muir Way Guide Book

From the radio mast follow the tarmac road down until it meets the A1107 and follow the road until you come to the track leading to Redheugh fram – choose the track that leads down to the point in front of the farm rather than the one that leads to the farm itself. Follow the road past Cambus Mains east ten Cambus west. From here rejoin the the A1107 for a few hundred yards until it joins with the road leading down to Pease Bay where this walk ends.

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Looking at the map the night before, I could see that there was going to be all down hill to Pease Bay and therefor there was no advantage in leaving my bike at Pease Bay because I would only end up having to push it all the way back up the hill. I decided therefore just to walk there and back, a short walk as it was only about 7 miles in total there and back. From the radio mast at the top of the hill I could see far up the coast. From the vantage point I could see 3 major land marks; the nuclear power station at Torness, the Cement works just south of Dunbar, and the Bass Rock which lay just off North Berwick The walk itself was pleasant enough and only took me about an hour and a half to reach Pease Bay. When i reached the large caravan park that lies behind Pease bay I stopped for a while and spoke to a woman from Hexham who sand the praises of the north east of England was a place to visit. I’m sure I will meet many people like her who are really happy with where they live. To be fair though she had travelled a fair bit and had crossed Canada from Vancouver to Nova Scotia. maybe that will be my next trip

Time Taken: 120 minutes Distance Covered: Walking: 3 miles, Biking: 1 miles


Coldingham to Telegraph Hill. 8 Miles

June 17, 2005

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DIRECTIONS:

John Muir Way Walk Guide

John Muir Way Guide Book

I headed off to St Abbs from Coldingham Youth Hostel. Cross the beach at Coldingham bay and follow the path into St Abbs. Above the harbour the path leads past the Kirk and the St Abb’s Museum and then turns right immediately afterwards where it is signposted to St Abb’s Head. The path then climbs up towards St Abb’s head passing the cliffs at Starney Bay, the Wuddy and Horsecastle Bay. The path eventually reached the St Abb’s head lighthouse. From here head to the highest point and drop down to Pettico Wick and then head up towards the first of the Mile Markers. These two large masts exactly one mile apart were erected so that boats and ships to measure their speeds accurately as they passed between them. From the first marker walk along the path to the north of Coldingham Loch, then head for the farmhouse and cottages at Lumsdaine, a large grain store is the target. Pass alongside the barn and take the rough tractor track that goes down and then back up again to Dowlaw village, skirting the deep unpassable gorge that is the limit of the NT trust territory. From Dowlaw it is possible to follow the track to see the ruins of Fast Castle. At Dowlaw, there is a single track road that takes you along the way to the Radar mast marked on the map which is where this walk ends.

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The path then climbs up towards St Abb’s head which is an NTS property. There are about 60,000 pairs of nesting seabirds on the cliffs around Starney and Horsecastle Bay including kittiwakes, gannets and many others. From the lighthouse at St Abbs head, the wind is strong and the rugged coastline north is in evidence. The rest of the walk involved a bit of sheep and cow dodging as I climbed towards the mile marker. Im never too sure about cows, and by the time I get close enough to check whether the cows are really cows and not bullocks its too late to do much about it. I was aware that if they were bullocks then “my tea would have been out” as they say as I had a 200 foot cliff to jump over to escape in order to escape. Thats what happens when you are really a city boy like me – you have no idea what to expect. If a bull ever chrages at me from across a field I will remember to keep thinking that he is probably more scared of me as I am of him (as his horns gore deep into my intestines) Anyway later I got my chance to do my good samaritan bit and rescue a lamb that had got caught between a drystane wall and a fence. I had to resist the urge to shout “run free my beauty!” as it ran off to find its mother. I know, Im just an old rural romantic.


Scottish Border to Coldingham. 10 miles

June 16, 2005

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DIRECTIONS

From the campsite at Marshall Meadows just off the A1, follow the signs for the Berwickshire Coastal walk. The coastal path runs between the cliffs on the right and the main east coast railway line on the left. At times there isnt much room and care shoud be taken. The path leads to Burnmouth and descends into the village, goes along passed the harbour and climbs once more to the top of the village, where it cuts back along the cliffs into Eyemouth. When you reach Eyemouth, go around the harbour and climb the stairs at the end of the beach to reach the caravan park. The trail goes around the perimeter of the caravan park all the way along the cliff tops until you drop down into Coldingham Bay.

John Muir Way Walk Guide

John Muir Way Guide Book

The first day of the walk and I had finally started! I started off and felt very strange. Ahead of me lay thousands of miles of unknown territory.  I wasnt sure why I elected to do this – I suppose it was the nagging disappointment at not finishing the southern upland way that I had started and walke 100 miles of a couple of years earlier. Foot and Mooth disease had effectively closed the countryside down and I had lost momentum and motivation, and I never completed it.  However I caught the bug and loved being outside all day, breathing fresh clean air and observing the seasons change slowly. I felt that I had (along with many other people living in a modern world,) been cut off from the reality of the world and its’s nature.

On the first day, I booked into Coldingham Youth Hostel on the Sunday night and cycled down to the Border to start the walk. It was a fine day and It felt so good to be alive, it wasnt until the afternnon that I felt it would be good to be dead. I walked along following the railway line awas amazed at the sheer cliffs and the fishing boats out at sea. When I reached Burnmouth I had a rest for five minutes as my achilles tendon was starting to play up a little. There was a steep climb coming out of the village at the far end and it had started to rain a little, so I pressed on and eventually reached the golf course at Eyemouth which had to be skirted before I reached Eyemouth itself. Eyemouth is a working fishing village and there were a few fishing boats in the harbour when I was there. Apart from the harbour there isnt a lot to see there, so I pressed on towards Coldingham Bay. The route took me passed a big caravan park at Eyemouth which is almost as big as the town itself, and I was glad to eventually head out for Coldingham. I could see St Abbs in the distance by now, and I was starting to hobble a bit because my achilles was by now starting to hurt. I think it was the walking shoes that were causing the problem, but they were relativly new so I think they needed to be worn in a little. Eventually I reached Coldingham Bay and I would thouroughly recommend staying in the Youth Hostels. For £12 a night I had a room to myself (only because there was noone else in the dorm that night) with a sea view and the run of the kitchen to myself. It was lovely and quiet and after I had a long shower I chilled and reflected on the monster that I had created. It suddenly dawned on me how long this was going to take, but then I wasnt in any hurry. Roll on tommorow!