Coldingham, Saturday 4th November

6 of us met at Coldingham in bright sunshine to paddle up to St Abbs head. The six of us were John Mcneill, Chris Gordon, Graeme Seggie, Fiona McLay ,Rob Burgess and myself. Fiona was keen to practice rescues and towing for her upcoming 4 star exam. The gate on the hill was open so most of us drove down to the beach huts and unloaded . 6 inches of surf getting on the water and we explored most of the nooks and crannies up to lighthouse. The swell was increasing as we neared the point and the current more in evidence. Chris & myself backed into the calm water of the largest of the caves and were able to watch as a bigger set of waves rolled in , thankfully not too big. Emerging out from behind the last arcade before Pettico Wick the wind was stronger with current and the addition of wind blown chop. John found himself upside down in a rougher stretch of water but Fiona was on hand to get him back in his boat in double quick time but not before the current had taken us 250mSouth.We made our way around the headland & into Pettico Wick. The dumping/ landing onto the pebble beach here was not elegant! Still the dead seal didn’t care!

After lunch we left the beach in an orderly fashion and headed back to Coldingham- Fiona practised some towing and another rescue- planned this time! A bit of rock hopping through the cave just in St Abbs bay – we timed it arrive at high tide springs!. I think most of us practised our rolls before coming off the water.

We had hot drinks at St Vedas after loading the boats.

Thanks to everyone who came. well done John for tackling the conditions with less than 6 months paddling experience. Graeme’s photos are amazing if you get the chance to see them. Fiona , good luck for the exam!

I never tire of exploring St Abbs head- conditions are always different – saturday was typical – millpond in Coldingham bay and yet sufficiently challenging at the head- ideal 4 star practising I would say!

Neil Black

Chris Morgan