Extension to Scotland

Berwick upon Tweed to Burnmouth 8 miles

Berwick upon Tweed a favourite of L.S. Lowrey

Berwick upon Tweed a favourite of L.S. Lowrey

I had walked the penultimate section on a Saturday and planned to use the bus to get back to my start point after reaching Berwick but that bus didn’t run on a Sunday. The coastal bus did so I drove over the border to Burnmouth and caught a crowded bus into Berwick.

I spent the whole morning exploring the town and hope I covered every street alley, footpath and interpretation board. It was a great adventure which started by the railway station and the scant remains of the castle followed by the discovery of the river side path which gives the excellent views of the Tweed estuary and the Royal Border Bridge.

Berwick's bridges over the Tweed

Berwick's bridges over the Tweed

I discovered the later town fortifications which like some projects of today were never completed but this explained why when I returned to explore the station in more depth I read that “the station stands on the site of the Great Hall of Berwick Castle”. This part of the town was outside the wall built by Elizabeth I and hence was not maintained from that time on.

I walked over the bridge of 1928 but saved the old bridge to cross as the final part of the Great English Walk tomorrow. A visit to Weatherspoons revealed, from the gents loo, a stunning view of the ‘modern’ bridge. It also revealed the work CAMRA need to do to encourage apprciation of real ale in these parts. Only six hand pumps on the bar and two were beers awaited so a choice of just four. I was tempted to comment to the staff but resisted, I was a visitor to foreign parts after all.

The Northumberland coastline north of Berwick

The Northumberland coastline north of Berwick

Time now to set off to and beyond the border. I had no qualms about walking the extension before completing the walk proper. I had without fail walked the Great English walk from Chepstow and would finish tomorrow at Berwick. Today was not part of that walk.

The Elizabethan wall still limits access to parts of the town so I took advanage of the hole made throuh it in 1895 to reach the Berwickshire Coast Path. Not the rugged Pembrokeshire or South West Way but remote and pleasant with lots of sea birds perched on the crumbling cliffs. Then I passed through a mobile home park and recalled camping here many years ago when I took advantage of the location and walked up the coast to view the border marker on the railway. No tents or touring vans now and little recollection of my last visit.

'British Railways' marks the border

'British Railways' marks the border

The border is marked by a newly installed gate with a chain and notice ‘Please close the Gate’ and an inviting mown path, unlike sections down south that were overgrown. The railway sign may have been renewed since my last visit over twenty years ago but alreday the arm for Scotland has fallen down and needs some attention.

Sections of the path are close to the cliff edge as is the railway but I suspect the train passengers have little time to appreciate the excellent coastal scenery as they pass by at one hundred plus miles an hour. The path, gates and stiles continue to be well maintained. Although there are no green dash lines here in Scotland the route is still marked with green diamonds as the Berwickshire Costal Path across land where no other footpaths are marked on my map.

Waiting for Mallard

Waiting for Mallard

Approaching Cowdrait the heavens open, the only heavy storm of the trip. I take shelter as best I can and watch as blocked drains become gushing cascades trying to disperse the deluge.

An interesting and encouraging encounter with footpaths in Scotland completes a most enjoyable day.

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