Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Siccar Point, Berwickshire

Last year started with high winds and this year is proving the same. The last two weeks have seen gusts over 45mph nearly every day. On some days the winds have been hitting 60mph. My cycling has suffered as I simply don't enjoy sitting in a granny gear struggling to make any progress. So with time off today I took the opportunity to go for a decent walk with Fly.

I parked at Pease Bay and set off on foot across the little bridge, Fly has difficulty with bridges.

The wind on the cliff tops was bracing to say the least.

The aim of today's walk was to visit Siccar point. This natural outcrop of weathered stone and windswept grass has a long history. It was once the site of a Dun, or fort, which was populated by the Britons. They were a busy bunch who lived from the Forth down to northern France. ( North of the Forth was populated by the Picts). They farmed, traded and generally got on with their ancient lives from the iron age until the middle ages.

The other reason that people trek along the cliffs is to see Hutton's Unconformity (the mis-mash of rock above). A quick Geology lesson; 400 million years ago sediment on the sea bed formed rock layers. Over immense periods of time the rock was folded as mountains formed. This was then eroded and 55 million years ago more sediment was laid down by rivers which also formed rock. This too eventually eroded and 200 years ago James Hutton, a local farmer and amateur geologist, sat bobbing in a little boat with a couple of friends and observed what he regarded as conclusive proof of his theory of uniformitarianism.

Hutton's work was challenging, it both suggested that the Earth was ever evolving, and also that it was immensely older than any previous suggestions that were based on biblical texts. As you can imagine this led to all sorts of confrontations.

Back to the present and poor Fly was freezing, I was feeling the biting cold too and we headed off along the coast to find some shelter.

St Helens chapel is a fine old ruin. It would once have been the church for the parish of Old Cambus. I'm not sure why, but this was absorbed into Cockburnspath. The graves are 18th Century and unfortunately unreadable now. It must have been a bleak trail to church on a winter's morning.

The western wall is still intact and provided a very welcome break out of the wind. Tomato soup in the flask and the camera strap in the bottom of the pic.

A very cold and windy walk, and a few million years of history when you look hard enough..


  1. Well, there may be a harsh and frigid wind you've got up there, but all I can see in the photos is a lovely landscape. That said, as a prairie dweller, I can take your word. I know the pursuit of shelter.

    1. It looks like the wind is finally dying down, so hopefully I'll get back out on the trucker. I'll still be looking for places to take a break and watch the world go by.

  2. Great post Ped,
    I still have not visited the old church!

    1. There is the making of a good S240 from Berwick train station, back to Dunbar via the salmon station at Lamberton and the coastal path. I think I will wait for some warmer weather and more daylight.

  3. Brrrrrr! chilly Fly. Happy Birthday to you Ped x