Day 277: North Berwick to Cove

Distance: 24.12 miles

Ascent: 1692 feet

Weather: Sunny Spells

Accommodation: Wild camp Near Cove


The flat (Puffin Palace) in the centre of North Berwick had been absolutely perfect for my rest day and I would recommend it for anyone visiting the town. Unfortunately my mind hadn’t been in the right place yesterday so had been unable to do a lot of admin I had hoped to do, in fact I couldn’t do anything till 6pm and then finally persuaded myself to pdf my maps which is the absolute minimum I needed.

My mind was still in a slightly strange place when I woke up and I had to really persuade myself to leave. I finally left a little after 8 (had wanted to leave at 7) and the forecast was for good weather today. I climbed up onto the low cliffs beyond North Berwick and followed the edge of The Glen Golf Club until I had to join the road for a while.

After a short distance on the road I turned off towards Tantallon Castle. To my surprise this was a pay to enter ruin, but fortunately it was closed now so I climbed the fence and then hopped across a brook before joining a track which would take me down to Seacliff Bay. This was a stunning bay and I had thought I would climb back up and follow the low cliffs but once down here I felt I could walk along the base of the low cliffs instead.

The tide was coming in but I only had a couple of kilometers along the low cliffs base, so I went for it. In fact, the going was not too bad with mostly flattish rock sections with sections of pebble/sand in between. Going around the last little mini headland there was only a couple of meters of beach left to walk on but after passing this the beach opened up into a massive expanse of sand. I had a quick break and within 5 minutes the part I had just walked was now covered in water (see photo below.)

At the end of the beach I turned inland to cross the River Tyne. A track took me up towards the very impressive Tyninghame House and then, though my plot crossed the river further inland, I decided to head down to the river to check out a possible footbridge which was part of the estate. I didn’t think I could cross here as online I found an account that said the bridge existed, but had a locked gate half way across that you could not swing around. I found the bridge and indeed it did have a gate in the middle that you couldn’t swing around, and I was about to head further inland to the road bridge when I noticed the lock had rusted through and the gate could be opened easily. This cheered me right up as it was a more coastal, scenic and shorter route than I had expected.

On the other side of the river I soon rejoined the John Muir Way. I sat down for lunch and on setting of again realised I had forgotten something important for today. I was meant to be at Belhaven Hill School at midday to briefly speak to the kids, but it was already 12 and I wouldn’t make the school till 1pm. After bizarrely passing some emus I got to Belhaven Bay and headed straight to the school to apologise, and had a nice brief chat with the headmaster.

I stocked up on supplies in Dunbar and then took to the link path which followed the coastline by the golf course, then the impressive Barns Ness Lighthouse, before reaching the nuclear power station. This had been dominating the skyline for miles and I wasn’t convinced there was a path infront of it. But on getting there, there was clearly a good footpath along the sea defences which protect the power station.

After the power station I dropped down onto the beach before following the cliff path to Cove and a short distance after I found a nice spot on the cliffs to pitch my tent. This is in fact the last time I will be able to make use of the wild camping rules in Scotland as the next time I pitch my tent I will be in England.

A good day, and I finish it with my mind back in the walking zone.

charles compton