St Abb's Head - from Burnmouth and back

St Abb's Head is well known amongst sea kayakers - the area around Horse Head, just a few kilometres south, much less so, which is something of an oversight for those who pass by en-route to Coldingham Bay. A day trip from Burnmouth, around Horse Head, passing Eyemouth and then on around St Abb's with a break at Pettico Wick before returning, makes for a dramatic and varied day's paddling.
It was also a touch cold - waking to the sound of surf rolling onto the beach at Bamburgh, the tent glistened beneath a coating of ice. A slightly brutal start to a glorious day as we headed over the border to launch at Burnmouth, a tiny fishing village of pastel shades tucked into the base of the cliffs. A £10 fee is charged 'for any vessel, of any size' to launch from the slip. We moved 100 yards north and launched from a convenient bed of kelp beneath the road.
Almost immediately, this section of coastline is superb - cliffs, similar to those on the north of the Solway but far taller, stretch north, while boulders and small stacks litter their base and gave good sport in the gentle swell.
Things continue in this vein for several kilometres and we cut a jagged line alone the coast, moving amongst the twisted rocks beneath deep blue skies, the morning chill all but forgotten. Horse Head - the lichen covered cliffs glowing in the morning light...
...though the November sun remained low in the sky - Chris passes Eyemouth before cutting across to Coldingham Bay beneath rolling hills, hidden by the high cliffs before now.
North of Coldingham we were back on familiar ground, once more weaving between the gargantuan stacks and cliffs.
A favourite passage hereabouts - the cleft looks improbably narrow at first sight, but widens as it is approached allowing an easy passage back onto open water...
...to pass beneath St Abb's Head itself.
We paused awhile at Pettico Wick, climbing the grassy banks to reach the sun. Before long the shadows were reaching up the cliffs once more, the retreating sun hastening our own departure. From beneath the lighthouse we cut directly across the wide bay, a crossing of sorts of around 5km, to reach the point of Nestends beyond Eyemouth.
The fast pace had warmed cold hands and I dipped back into the shadows to explore this impressive entrance.
Back at Burnmouth and as the temperature plummeted we steamed in the chill air, discarding wet layers for dry fleece - a cold start and a cold end, but a superb day combining these two contrasting sections of coastline.

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