Trip Start May 11, 2011
188Trip End Jun 11, 2011
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Yes, I should think so.
Eyemouth is a bit of a revelation. When HVM was here [ISA 12.6] the story of the disastrous windstorm of 1881 followed by the collapse of the fishing industry made me think I was going to find a ghost town. But no. The first thing I saw on parking up was a proper smokehouse producing freshly smoked cod and whiting. Brought a freshly smoked cod off the owner who's told me he's been smoking fish over wood this way for the last 30 years.
There were boats in the busy, working harbour. Not the hundreds that I guess there once were but I counted ten or more trawlers that looked like they meant business. There were also fish warehouses and lorries coming and going with fish. Walking through all this with three scent hounds took about a billion years.
There was a town museum and a maritime centre with a collection of real and model boats that my Dad would positively drool over. The restored house of the biggest smugglers in town is also open to visit - but not on Wednesdays. They never managed to pin anything on John Nisbet or his brother David but they were slightly richer than God so there you go. Oh, and there's the trifling matter of all manner of tunnels, hidey holes, secret panels and other devices that would be extremely useful if you wanted to smuggle anything which have been found as they restore the house. I guess John Nisbet could have claimed that this was how he found the house when he brought it but seeing as he built the place that would probably be a lie. Allegedly there's a rotating fireplace but they still haven't found that yet. Lorks a lordy.
The Eyemouth Disaster of 1881 was exactly that. The fishing fleet sailed despite weather warnings because they were strapped for cash and the town was in debt. While they were out
a European cyclone ploughed into the Berkwickshire coast and killed 129 men from the town. One boat the Ariel Gazelle survived because she chose to sail through the storm rather than run for the coast. When HVM was here one of the survivors was still alive - not so now of course but I guess you don't forget something like that
The scary Watch House that HVM described is still here in the graveyard and looking like something out of Scooby Doo. It's built out of all the gravestones that they had to lift when a new cemetery was build on top of the old one. Well why not?
We also found a plaque commemorating Robert Burns being made a Royal Arch Mason - but what's all this Land of Cakes business? Well it appears that Scotland is known as The Land of Cakes because of the population's fondness for oatcakes. I did not know this.
Our visit to Eyemouth was rounded off with a more than amusing pub sign and the mysterious 'Lady' who wanted us to tap her nose with a fish. Lady is a blind seal who hangs around the harbour near the fish stall hoping for tit-bits but she wasn’t about because the stall was closed. Issy wanted to be tied up next to her sign but I thought pretending to be a blind seal in order to steal fish was probably out of her comfort zone, as well as being unspeakably low.
We moved on before there was any Seal/Basset trouble.