Walk: Creel Path, Scottish Borders

Fergal McErlean finds a ruggedly beautiful stretch of coastal path trodden by centuries of fishermen and holy men. The Creel Path will blow the cobwebs away, with fish and chips to tempt at its finish

9th January 2017
Difficulty
Medium
Distance
5 miles
Duration
3 hours

This superb coastal walk dips into hidden beaches as it meanders along the centuries-old Creel Path, which winds along the coast from the charming village of Coldingham.

Before setting off, it’s worth strolling around. The settlement, built from the locally quarried sandstone, was developed after the establishment of the Abbey of Coldingham in the seventh century. This was destroyed in a fire but the village remained a religious centre and a beautiful Benedictine priory was founded by King Edgar of Scotland in 1098 – today, it’s a peaceful place to wander. 

1. IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FISHERMEN

Follow the road down towards St Abbs, passing the settlement of Fisher’s Brae. For over 1,000 years, local fishermen would carry pots laden with their day’s catch, known as creels, along what became known as the Creel Path. A footpath leads as far as a layby where you join the start of the signed Creel Path. There’s a sudden quiet as you leave the cars behind and approach the North Sea.

2. ABBS FAB

As you approach St Abbs the views of the coastline open out. The pretty harbour is named after the Northumbrian Princess Æbbe who founded the Abbey of Coldingham. 

Where the path joins Creel Road keep straight, passing Murrayfield, to take a little diversion to see the harbour. In days gone by, huge numbers of herring were hauled ashore here. Up the coast lies the St Abbs Head National Nature Reserve, home to thousands of seabirds. 

3. SMUGGLERS’ SHORE 

Return to follow Murrayfield and join the signed Berwickshire Coastal Path. Soon this drops down to the large sandy Coldingham Bay. Here the wind howls and the waves crash on jagged rocks.

Follow the path to pass by a rocky beach to arrive at the larger Linkim Shore. 

This is where sailing ships would shelter before entering Eyemouth Harbour. Many a smuggler would have known these waters. Look for divers and grebes, with sandpipers along the shore. 

4. POP TO THE CHIPPIE

Climb back up to the cliff top for a pleasant section that runs into the coastal town of Eyemouth. Fish and chips may tempt before catching the 235 bus back to Coldingham Cross.

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