North Berwick To Coldingham

Lothian and Lammermuir

ROUTE LENGTH: 38 MILES

By Road

Exit North Berwick along the A198, where you will pass Tantallon Castle and drive through Auldhame and pass Whitekirk. At Tyninghame, however, take the right turn, marked East Linton and Preston Mill, to dive to East Linton. Then take the main road south (left turning) to join the A199 (pencraig Brae), before tuning right and passing under the A1. After the underpass, turn right and follow the road. Traprain Law will be on the right. Continue on the road, at Luggate, turn right, then left. Eventually turn left onto the B6370, upon which you will reach Stenton. Afterwards, the B6370 will take you to Pitcox, where at the crossroads, turn right, and follow this road until the next right, turning and following this road, then turning left, and entering Spott via its high road. Leave Spott via the main road, Canongate, and follow north. You will reach a major A1 junction, continue north via Spott Road into Dunbar. Upon leaving Dunbar, take the A1087 southeast, joining the A1 (left turn).

To reach Cockburnspath, at the junction, take the third exit (right most). Return along this road, then take the opposite exit off the A1 junction, then turn right. Cove is accessible from a sideroad to the left. Following the main road will lead to Pease Bay. Passing beyond Pease Bay, join the A1107 by turning left, which will lead to Coldingham.

By Public Transport

From Lochbridge Road in North Berwick, you can take the 69 to East Linton. There is no easy way to reach Traplain Law from East Linton, but you can walk – head southeast on Browns Pl/High

St/B1377 toward Preston Rd/B1407, then left onto Bridge St/B1377, and left again onto Bridge End/B1407, before two rights onto Lauder Place and Pencraig Brae/A199. After 500feet, turnright, then right again and walk for a mile, before turning right at the road for Traplain Law. It’s about an hour.

To go to Spott, you should return to East Linton, then take the X6 or 253 to Dunbar, from there taking the 130 south to Spott. Return to Dunbar by the 130, then take 253 to Cockburnspath and then Coldingham.

To check times go to Traveline Scotland and click on Plan your Journey on left side of page.

By land and sea, North Berwick is the doorway to the heartland of Baldred, Scotland’s Anglo-saxon saint. Baldred founded churches at Auldhame, Whitekirk, and Prestonkirk, along with a monastery at Tyningham, and a cave retreat at Seacliff beach beyond Auldhame, in addition to the Bass Rock chapel. The rock formation off the point at Tyningham is still called St Baldred’s Cradle. St Baldred’s Boat is another coastal feaure by Tantallon Castle. Only some of this achievement is still visible. The medieval church in the grounds of Tyningham house may be the site of Baldred’s monastery, while Prestonkirk, probably the saint’s burial place, is built on a very ancient mound with Baldred’s well still flowing by the riverside below.

Archaeology has revealed the extent of the Auldhame settlement, but there is little to see above ground. Whitekirk, on the road south from Auldhame, later developed as an important Marian shrine. Sadly the healing well was covered over but the medieval church and a tithe barn, which marks the site of the pilgrim hostels, remain. Suffragettes set fire to the church in 1914 because of connections between the Conservative leader A.J. Balfour and local landed families.

From East Linton we proceed to Traprain Law where a sizable early Celtic town was located. This is the birthplace of Thenew, Mungo’s mother, and the scene of her trials at the hand of her father Loth, King of the British Celtic Gododdin. At Standingstane Farm, Loth’s stone looks defiantly towards the cliff over which, on learning she was pregnant, he had Thenew thrown in a ritual chariot. But she survived unharmed. We go back towards Stenton, paying our respects at the Rood Well on the far side of the village and then approach Dunbar through Spott which has a medieval church, once a first pilgrim station on the long trek westwards to Iona.

Dunbar was the headqurates of Bea or Bega, an Irish Christian who worked with Hilda of Whitby. Her church was on the site of the present impressive parish kirk, but in general Dunbar has the character of a scenic harbour town, in which the older remains of castle and church have succumbed to sea and wind. John Muir, the world famous environmentalist and founder of the national park movement, was born here in a main street house which is now an interpretative centre. Continuing along the coast we reach the village of Cockburnspath with its linked harbour at Cove. Beyond Cove a left turn off the main road goes to Pease Bay where St Helen’s church is sited above the sands.

This is the last potential stop before reaching Coldingham and St Abbs.

Hardy and determined women were the pioneers
From Tennoch or Thenew, who survives rape,
ritual execution and abandonment.
Next come Hilda, Ebbe, Bea and Helen,
founding monasteries and churches,
commanding men and women alike.
This heritage inspires devotion
through sacred wells, and pilgrimage,
and the image of Mary, mother of God.
Does the future also lie
in the minds and hearts of women?

Pilgrim Journeys

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