Coldingham to Telegraph Hill. 8 Miles

June 17, 2005

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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.


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.