The stretch of coastline between Eyemouth and Saint Abbs Head in Berwickshire, Scotland, is one of the best diving locations around the UK, with such a wealth of marine wildlife that is only rivalled by a few locations around Britain’s shoreline. The extensive marine life is in fact preserved by a voluntary Marine preservation enforced by the local people.
They recognised that the economic future of the area came from tourists and adventurers, not the destruction of the commons. Under the guidance of David Bellamy, they campaigned for a protection order in the 70’s and early 80’s. Eventually they were granted the title of Voluntary Marine Reserve and the scheme was officially launched in 1984.
The scuba diving strengths of the area lie in its remarkably clear waters which come as a combined result of strong tidal movements and relatively deep water. The conditions have enabled divers a great view of the thriving underwater ecosystem along the coast. Amongst the kelp forests there are a few outstanding dives along the 8 kilometre stretch. Cathedral Rock, a mere 50 metres from Saint Abbs village, is an underwater tunnel through rock that has enticed divers for years and in fact the area surrounding St Abbs harbour is most probably the best bit of diving along the stretch.
In recent years their have been muted plans to upgrade the Voluntary Marine Preservation title to a similar level of protection as afforded to The Isle of Lundy. However, plans seem to have stalled as the economic crisis has taken priority in government and no further noises have been made since 2009.
The website associated with the area also mentions that the boat based dives are also well worth checking out, with several shipwrecks and an area known as Anemone Gullies harbouring a significant number of huge plumose anemones. Another dive site, The Black Carrs, is a boulder strewn sea bed which is a great place to see wolf fish.
Aside from diving, the area has some absolutely lovely coastal walks, with the St Abbs lighthouse nestled on the northern side of St Abbs village. The lighthouse is also one of the oldest in Scotland which explains that despite the areas rocky nature, there are surprisingly few shipwrecks of note. Being an hour from Edinburgh, it’s easily accessible from cheap hotels, but to truly experience the area, Scottish log cabins come highly recommended.
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