Travel Report: St Abbs Village, Scotland.
St Abbs Village, Scotland.
May 2019. Ask a talented artist to draw a picture of the word rugged and you might end up with something resembling the gorgeous St Abbs Village on the southeastern coast of Scotland. Jagged cliffs… crashing waves… charming old stone cottages… squawking seagulls… St Abbs is an authentic escape from 21st century modern life. And heaven knows we all need a bit of that sometimes.
My old friend Spackles and I had been exploring the rural delights of East Lothian and were in the process of driving back to Galashiels to drop me off at my parents’ place. Happily, St Abbs gave us the opportunity for one last pitstop along the way.
This tiny fishing community dates back to the 7th century when, as the legend goes, a shipwrecked princess by the name of Æbbe of Coldingham built a nunnery nearby. Apparently she was the daughter of Æthelfrith, the King of Bernicia, a region that encompassed what is now southeastern Scotland and northeastern England.
St Abbs Village, Scotland.
The first buildings of today’s village sprang up in the 1750s. Later, in 1833, the respected whiskey distiller Andrew Usher developed the harbour and built the village hall and school.
Needles to say fishing is still a big thing in St Abbs. As a result, don’t be surprised to see a boat or two chugging back and forth, along with dozens of fishing cages piled up along the harbour.
Ebbcarrs Cafe, St Abbs Village.
If you want to actually try the local seafood, look no further than Ebbcarrs Cafe. This charming little stone cottage is famed for its crab rolls and piping hot Scottish soup, known as cullen skink. This hearty dish, best enjoyed in the winter months, is a delicious mix of smoked haddock, potatoes and onions.
Photo courtesy of Metukkalihis.
Ebbcarrs Cafe also does a range of sweet pastries, along with your lattes, mochas and all that jazz. The cafe is named after the jagged ebb carr rocks by the shore.
St Abbs Lifeboat Station.
It certainly won’t win any beauty contests, but any visit should include a stop at St Abbs Lifeboat Station. It was founded in 1911 following the tragic sinking of S.S. Alfred Erlandsen. A lifeboat rescue mission had set off from the nearby town of Dunbar, but by the time they got to St Abbs everyone had died. A heavy case of lesson learned, I guess.
Photo courtesy of Petticowick.
While the building itself may look like a rickety old shed, there’s nothing dubious about St Abbs’ kick-ass lifeboat. Introduced in 2016, this state of the art vessel is called Thomas Tunnock and is one of Britain’s fastest lifeboats. The Scottish teacake and caramel wafer producer Tunnock’s donated over £250.000 towards the purchase.
Sadly, a spin in the Thomas Tunnock seems out of reach for most visitors. Still, one can get out onto the North Sea with a range of boat cruises and diving tours. Check out St Abbs Diving and St Abbs Charters for more info.
Unfortunately, Spackles and I were a little pressed for time. Hence we made do with a stroll down the pier for wondrous views across the sea and cliffs. We simply wanted to experience the inspirational landscape that inspired a Hollywood production team to set up camp here in March 2017.
Yup, that’s right, St Abbs has a pretty special claim to fame. For it was right here that the cast and crew of Avengers: Endgame came to shoot several key scenes set in Thor‘s fictional Norwegian hometown, New Asgard.
They certainly have taken advantage of the Avengers connection. And why wouldn’t they? After all, it now stands as the highest grossing movie of all time.
Just a few weeks before my visit, the Scottish Borders Council made a bunch of signs. And so St Abbs finds itself “officially twinned” with New Asgard. Thus Avengers fans now have a new destination to add to their bucket lists!
For more on The Avengers in St Abbs, check out this cool article from New Girl In Toon.
For more on the region, see my articles from across The Scottish Borders.
To delve further afield, you can also take a look at my travel articles from all around Scotland.
I’ve been living, working and traveling all over the world since 2001. So why not check out my huge library of travel reports from over 30 countries.