Andrew is the Church of Scotland Minister for Eyemouth, Coldingham and St. Abbs, Berwickshire. He’s always lived near the sea and loves its ever-changing nature as well as its constancy.
My job can, at times, be extremely stressful, difficult and very draining, and it’s good to be able to go somewhere where I know I can relax and restore that sense of energy and peace before going back into the fray of work. I’ve been here for about five and a half years, and I look after the two congregations which involves, obviously, leading Sunday worship, but also during the week a lot of meetings, funerals, and outreach, working in schools, and working within the community.
The relaxation of being beside the sea is something I found recently to be very important. Having that resource available on my doorstep is great. We go down to the beach and enjoy a good paddle on a regular basis, and just dip our toes in – even when it’s freezing cold. We also just watch the sea and observe its changing nature. It’s never the same twice and it’s easy just to sit and watch waves rolling in, whether it’s onto the beach or against the sea wall.
It’s something that doesn’t get old; you can always watch it and I guess one of the reasons I really love it is the fact it is always different.
Watching the ever-changing sea is something I really enjoy, and going down to what’s called The Bantry in Eyemouth, which is basically the promenade and the sea wall. It’s great to go down no matter what time of day, to watch the sea rolling in. Just watching how it changes – one day it’s flat calm and you can see all the birds bobbing about, and the next day it’s big rolling breakers coming up onto the beach or over the sea wall.
I think when I’m there, there’s a sense of peace, even when the storms are going because, as much as the sea is an ever-changing thing, there’s a constancy to it, it doesn’t disappear, it’s always there. You hear about the difficulties of loneliness, of isolation, of mental illness, and you just wonder how much of that could actually be solved by people having a connection with the outdoors, with the sea, with the mountains, with the rivers – because these are places that really, to use at trite phrase, can restore the soul.