Weekend walk on the Southern Upland Way and John Muir Link


At the weekend, we made up a walk that took in some of the end of the Southern Upland Way and some of the old John Muir Way, now known as the John Muir Link .

We set off from Abbey St. Bathans and over the Gurkha bridge, along the river Whiteadder then up into the Lammermuir Hills towards the coast. The first part of the walk was mainly through upland fields, with a mix of little bits of plantation woodland and small roads and tracks. Then as we descended towards the A1 and over the other side (which required actually walking over the A1!) we entered Pease Dean, which is a nice bit of woodland and pine plantation where we spent the night.

Gorse bushes](/img/suw/gorse.png)
Path through plantation](/img/suw/pease.png)

We both took bivvy bags and I set up a tarp over the top of us, to guard against the rain but also to bring a sense of coziness. We brought potatoes and broccoli which we fried in my trangia with some leftover bacon grease, then in the morning we had some coffee using the kettle. Leftover film canisters are my new preferred method of taking small pots of grease, spices, coffee, etc. out on hikes.

Trangia cooking

The next day we walked to Cockburnspath in the morning and stocked up on food at the village shop, which was open at 10:00 on a Sunday. On the cliffs behind Pease Bay we spent a good while watching the surfers trying to beat out through the breaking waves. After Cockburnspath the path is nice and varied through some woodland and down to the coast, then it’s a mix of cliffs and beach to Torness Nuclear Power Station. The power station is a weird feature of the walk. There is a substantial concrete walkway all around the seaward perimeter of the site and that is where the rout directs you. It’s pretty brutalist in its appearance and it’s fun to get so close to the power station, which I see from the train a lot.

Tree on cliff
Bay and power station

Trekking the last bit of the route is a bit boring. The golf course at Dunbar goes right up to the coast and walkers are forced to skirt around the edge of it. But then it’s an easy walk into town towards the train station.

Here is a shapefile of our route