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Sea Kayaking in the Northeast of England

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St Abbs

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Other Trips:-Berwick to Eyemouth...... River Tweed...... Circumnavigation of Holy Island...... The Farne Islands...... Beadnell to Boulmer...... Boulmer to Amble...... Coquet Island......

Page Contents :- Introduction . . Description . . Access . . Tidal Info . . Natural History . .

Map of St Abbs


St Abbs Head is a rugged headland jutting out into the main tidal stream along the coast.
Consisting of igneous cliffs rising 80m out of the sea, folded and split with sea stacks, islets and caves lining an indented coastline.
The cliffs are famous for the huge numbers of breeding birds nesting during April to July.
The tiny harbour of St Abbs, nestling with it's village and busy with the bustle of dive boats is a must to visit.

Picture of St Abbs Beautiful scenery, cliffs, sea stacks, caves, and a surfeit of birds combine to make this a lovely trip with something for everyone. A trip to be dawdled over in calm conditions when you can get close to the cliffs and into the caves.

The trip can either be a there and back from Eyemouth or Coldingham, best straddling high water, or as a linear trip finishing at Pease Bay.

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Distance 8.5km Eyemouth to Pettico Wick, 21km Eyemouth to Pease Bay.
Picture of St Abbs Coastline
Launching from Eyemouth and turning north under Eyemouth fortifications and through the reefs past Hairy Ness, don't miss the deep geo on the north side of the headland. Follow the coastline around the wide bay past alternating small beaches and low rocky reefs to Coldingham bay (surf, surfers and lifeguards)

Paddle around through the islets to St Abbs harbour with its three tiny basins. (Beware here of dive and lobster boats.)

Cross Starney bay to White Haugh with its nesting Kittiwakes and explore the tiny cave in its north face. Just room to turn around and two windows to look out of.
Wind your way through the islets to Horsecastle Bay with the cliffs rising higher all the time.
You can see caves, pinnacles, islets and birds as you dawdle beneath the sheer cliffs and the lighthouse.

You round the headland through the pinnacles of West Hurker and approach the little stony beach of Pettico Wick.

The rugged coast draws you on to the west, the rock twisted and contorted by unimaginable pressures. There are tiny beaches, some sand, some stone which irregularly punctuate the low rocks protruding into the sea from the base of the cliffs.
Small waterfalls tumble from the tops of the cliffs, now not so sheer but extending up to 100m above you. Picture of St Abbs Caves

Look out for the remains of the 16th century castle clinging to the crags of Fast Castle Head (easily missed but it is in a fascinating location) and the occasional cave accessible towards high water.
Now Pease Bay comes into view beyond Siccar Point, with the white stump of Bass rock in the far distance.
Paddle past Siccar Point and round Greenheugh Point to finish at Pease Bay. (Possible surf)

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There are three main launch sites for trips around St Abbs Head, depending upon weather or tidal constraints.
The headland and adjacent waters are a Nature Reserve run by the National Trust for Scotland.
There is no problem with access for this trip, apart from possibly being asked for a charge if you try to launch or land in St Abbs harbour. (Paddling in to look is not a problem.)
During the breeding season common sense should prevail regarding the disturbance of nesting birds.

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Tidal Info