My Britain: The Berwickshire Coast

Anna Walker 20 July 2022

Two locals introduce us to their home on the Berwickshire coast, one of the Scottish Borders' best kept secrets filled with wildlife and geological wonders

Just an hour's drive from Edinburgh, the Berwickshire Coast is a place of extraordinary natural beauty, and a hotspot for wildlife lovers.

The coast's small and picturesque villages, including Coldingham, Eyemouth and St Abb's, offer some of the finest food of the Scottish Borders, including award-winning fish and chip shop Giacopazzi's, which also offers some of Scotland's best ice cream, Jarvis Pickle pies and Leftfield Kombucha.

Film fans may be surprised to recognise the scenery from the small town of St Abb's from the Marvel blockbuster Avengers: Endgame, where it played the role of Thor's "New Asgard".

The local lifeboat station was even branded "New Asgard Lifeboat Station" during filming.

If movie locations aren't your thing, there's plenty more to enjoy, from fresh scenic coastal walks to horse riding, stunning nature reserves, surfing, golfing, e-bike tours and trips around the area's many stunning lighthouses.

We spoke to two residents about their businesses on the Berwickshire Coast for a flavour of local life.

Danielle Mckinnon

Two young girls ride horses down the beach in BerwickshireCredit: The South of Scotland Destination Alliance

Danielle is the manager, founder, coach and a youth worker at Eat, Sleep, Ride.

I love the community here on the Berwickshire Coast. It's so diverse, like a real family—I call it the land that time forgot.

My business, Eat, Sleep, Ride, brought me to Berwickshire originally, and now we are building a larger carbon neutral community sports hub in Lamberton too.

Eat, Sleep, Ride is a community interest company and social enterprise providing affordable therapeutic equine and countryside interactions for children, young people and their parents, guardians, and carers in Southeast Scotland and Northumberland.

Our purpose is to help, support and inspire people through the provision of experiential learning, equine-based training, accreditation, certification, volunteering, work placements and employment opportunities.

We work with people living with the challenges of mental and physical ill health, drug and alcohol use, and those who are isolated, vulnerable, and facing poverty and deprivation.

We are a conduit for training and accreditation, using experiential learning to help develop social and emotional competencies, providing interaction with, and connection to our community.

"I love the community here on the Berwickshire Coast. It's so diverse, like a real family"

The Eat, Sleep, Ride mission is to support young people and their families to take positive steps forward in life by providing an inclusive, accessible, and tailored service.

Working collaboratively with a range of partners and supported by a team of volunteers, we design and deliver activities that inspire young people to develop, grow and reach their full potential.

We have an amazing and diverse team working with Eat, Sleep, Ride who all live within the local areas and always have stories to tell of the shop, farmer, butcher and villages.

If you look hard enough you find the hidden gems of Berwickshire and there are so many—each bringing their own personality, wisdom, friendship, and support.

Many of the people who we work with sometimes struggle to put food on the table. The area has limited transport and resources, and this has been made worse over recent years due to COVID. Despite these challenges, however, everyone within the local community has been so supportive and helpful of our mission.

My favourite spot in Berwickshire is our new site in Lamberton. It means so much to me, because it represents hope, a place of peace and a future for us.

Liza Cole

Three people stand on a cliff observing nature through long range cameras with sea in backgroundCredit: The South of Scotland Destination Alliance

Liza's business, In Our Nature, offers wildlife and nature tours of Berwickshire.

I first came to Berwickshire for a job—to be the ranger for the Berwickshire Marine Reserve.

I was then senior ranger for St Abb's Head National Nature Reserve and I set up my own business, In Our Nature, offering wildlife cruises, walks, talks and courses in 2020.

There's so much I love about Berwickshire. Its stunning scenery. Its variety of landscapes and habitats and range of amazing wildlife, both above and below the water. Its friendly people.

In places you can feel like you are a million miles from anywhere, when in reality you're just an hour's drive from Edinburgh, a little more from Newcastle, and less than four hours from London on the train.

The thing that underpins everything on the Berwickshire Coast is its varied and fascinating geology. The jewel in the crown is Siccar Point. With its world-famous non-conformity it's considered the birthplace of modern geology.

A view of the misty sea and cliffs from Berwickshire coastBerwickshire's geological sights are second to none

But there are also the stunningly striped rocks at Pease Bay, the striking reddish-purple cliffs and sea stacks at St Abb's Head and the incredibly folded rocks south of Eyemouth.

The geology not only shapes the landscape, but it also impacts on the wildlife, forming varied habitats from steep sheltered valleys and towering cliffs to sheltered sandy bays.

There's nothing I like more than being out in nature and sharing my passion with others, so starting up In Our Nature was a no brainer.

"The thing that underpins everything on the Berwickshire Coast is its varied and fascinating geology"

In the warmer months I offer tours on land and sea to help folk enjoy the amazing wildlife and scenery of the Berwickshire Coast. In the darker months my online courses help people learn about wildlife in the hope that it will increase their enjoyment of the marine and coastal environments they spend time in.

My favourite spot on the Berwickshire Coast has got to be a place called Petticowick, just west of St Abb's Head. The views up the coast and inland to the Mire Loch are second to none.

It's a place where you can marvel at geology which spans unimaginable periods of time, including the petrified ripples from a sandy beach dating back 450 million years or more.

You can listen to and watch thousands of seabirds that return to the cliffs to breed each spring. Or witness all the amazing activity of the breeding seal colony on the beach below during the early winter.

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