St Abbs UK

The small village of St Abbs and the adjacent St Abbs National Nature Reserve encapsulates the cultural and natural history of southeast Scotland. Huddled on the coast with its small, protected harbour, the village was established in the mid-18th century by the local fishing community. St Abbs was named after Æbbe, a 7th-century Northumbrian princess who was shipwrecked on these shores. Thankful for her survival, she founded a nunnery and spread Christianity through the pagan land.

Beyond the huddle of fishing cottages is St Abbs Head, a bastion of basalt on the siltstone coast. The waves have created a rugged coast of cliffs and rock stacks which provide opportunities for crowds of breeding seabirds, especially guillemots, kittiwakes and razorbills. Walking tracks and the lighthouse provide excellent opportunities for viewing the cliffs with ledges occupied by nests, chicks or adult birds. Fulmars, cormorants and puffins also nest here.

The Nature Reserve also protects grasslands strewn with wildflowers. Sea Thrift, Wild Tyme, Rock Rose, and Purple Milk Vetch in turn attract butterflies like the Dark Green Fritillary and the rare Northern Brown Argus. Behind the headland, Mire Loch supports nesting swans, ducks and coots. The sea is also treasured, as particularly clear waters attracted SCUBA divers who created Britain's first Voluntary Marine Reserve at St Abbs in 1984. Look into the waters from cliffs, harbour or boats. It is a world of kelp, crabs and fish and despite the allure, it is COLD.

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