Paddling the St Abbs Coastline in Haar

After a great forecast all week and sunshine all day, it was slightly disappointing to see a bank of fog sitting out beyond Dunbar as I drove along after work. Oh well, it would add character to the paddle I told myself.

We did the carry down to the water where little in the way of surf was evident, just a few waves of less than one foot gently moving the sailing boat moored out in the mist a hundred metres out.

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In no time we were passing the houses and harbour of St Abbs and passing below the cliffs towards the lighthouse at St Abbs head where a couple of divers were bobbing about awaiting their pickup. Round about here interest picked up with some channels and hidden bits we ventured in to to explore. Lots of colourful jelly fish in the water were looking particularly pretty here in the shallows, contrasted against the bottom.

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We continued along, passing Pettico Wick where the scenery seemed a bit more open and things started to brighten a bit. The sun showed through the mist as a yellow disc, sometimes full, others partially hidden – very odd but amazing. A stop on a skerry had us refueled and the decision made to keep going with the sea stack The Souter as a turning point. This stop coincided with the lightest mist which never quite revealed the tops of the cliffs but soon it thickened again and all we had for company was the base of the cliffs, skerries and eerie (in the mist) looking lobster pot markers. Funky geology was evident everywhere you looked, lots of twisted rock for example.

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We arrived at the Souter and lingered for a couple of minutes before turning about and hugging the coast back. By now light was notably departing for the day but still good enough to see our way along and there wasn’t a sound other than the movement of the water against rocks, in fact eventually that breaking water would aid our navigation a bit.

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I completely forgot about the lighhouse and it was a bit of a surprise to round a corner and find four slowly rotating beams of light above us struggling to find their way through the mist above. Very nice! Soon enough (but not soon enough), the lights of St Abbs itself could be made out and we crossed the bay to it. Here we called in to folks to let them know all was well, it was now 11pm, the time we had said we’d be off the water by, then continued on the last few hundred metres to Coldingham. The only evidence of the yacht was a spooky mooring light suspended in the mist above us.

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A really nice night paddle, more atmospheric than usual, maybe mist is not so bad after all.

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