We visited Eyemouth three times while staying nearby in Lower Burnmouth. The first time we arrived late one afternoon, after walking elsewhere, to restock at the local Co-Op. We were in time to see seals being fed in the harbour (with the gulls looking on with a beady eye in case they missed anything).
The Harbour itself was a colourful area – with the fishermen making their feelings for the EU rather clear.
We stopped short looking across at Gunsgreen House because the bridge across to it was closed and it would have been a long detour via the road. Gunsgreen was built around 1753 for local merchant John Nisbet, who was also suspected to be a smuggler. The house was rumoured to have secret passages and huge cellars large enough to hold hundreds of kegs of smuggled brandy. It is now a museum.
Back in the town market place we saw a statue of Willie Spears (1812-1855) who, at great personal risk, led a revolt against the tithes on fish levied by the Church of Scotland. After a 20 year battle, during which Spears served time in jail, the fishermen were allowed to buy out the tithe for £2,000. Spears was not at sea during the great fishing disaster of 1881, but watched from land. Nearby is the monument to that disaster, which I wrote about in a previous post.
Our second visit was the day we walked along the coastal path to Eyemouth, as described in my last post. This brought us in behind Gunsgreen House, so we were looking at the harbour from the other side. Nisbet’s Tower, the building with red painted door, is a renovated 18th century doocot (dovecote), now a holiday let. I want to stay there next time! There’s a rather inanimate workman on the bridge which is being repaired – his notice says “Bridge over the River Queye – eventually”. At least his mate has managed to catch a fish – in someone’s garden?
More colourful tiles etc – and a rather scary marker for the flood of 1948.
On this occasion, we had lunch in a bar called Oblò.
We liked it so much that we returned there for breakfast on our final day, the occasion of our last visit to Eyemouth. After breakfast, we visited the town’s museum which I’ve already written something about in my Great Fishing Disaster post. However, there was more to see than that. I spotted an old picture of our cottage in the days when it was, literally, a lobster house, and there was a small display about local suffragettes, always of interest to me.
And they had a very good interactive 3D recreation of Eyemouth’s 16th century fort. Seen here is a shot of the 3D fort and an aerial view of it in real life.
We decided to walk out there next. It was a beautiful morning and the sea was stunning.
You wouldn’t really have known you were in a fort, apart from a few cannons here and there. It was originally built in 1547 as an English fort, part of the “Rough Wooing” campaign to marry Henry VIII’s son Edward to the infant Mary Queen of Scots. Three years later it was abandoned, then rebuilt in 1557 to house French troops, Scotland and France being allies against England. This was also short lived, and it was demolished again in 1559 – so it’s not surprising there is little left.
Finally, a picture that didn’t fit into any of the galleries, but I thought The Old Bakehouse was too pretty to leave out.
This third visit to Eyemouth may have ended our holiday, but there are several gaps still to fill in. There’s much more information about this part of Scotland to come.