Sunday, 28 June 2015

Walk 213

Newburgh to Aberdeen 15miles

It had rained heavily all night and was still raining as I boarded my bus back to re start my walk at Newburgh.  Luckily as I got off the bus the rain stopped! I made my way to the beach and the highlight of today, 11 miles of route one beach walking!!

The wind had really whipped up and it was great to stand and watch the kite surfers ride the wind and waves. I carried on along the beach (via GC15) mile after mile of sand, eventually I had to cut inland in order to cross the superb Bridge of Don.
Bridge of Don

All too soon the my 9 days of walking had come to an end in the city of Aberdeen,  This 9 days has been some of my favourite walking in all of Scotland and what a contrast the east coast is to the west coast, on the west coast I barely saw a few miles of beach whereas on the east coast you can't swing a cat without hitting one!

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Walk 212

Peterhead to Newburgh 22miles

I made a futile attempt at the start of today's walk to walk around the bay at Sandford, but try as I might I could not find a way through so I opted for a short trek along the busy A90 which took me along the coast to Boddam.  Just before you turn left towards Boddam I spotted a car park and my curiosity got the better of me, I decided to climb the small mound next to where most people had parked and when I got to the top I foolishly decided to head across land towards the town.  I say foolishly now because in all of my treks its always a case of "being wise after the event"  I made my way across the field and it soon became apparent that my route to town was going to be difficult as in front of me was a 12ft fence and to the side was a 6ft wall, I luckily found a broken part of the wall which reduced my climb to 5ft! I clambered over the wall and ended up in a small housing estate where I was finally able to make my way towards the coast and the fantastic lighthouse at Boddam.
Boddam Lighthouse
Once I had made my way out of town I walked along the very busy A90 for 2 miles before taking a left turn along the much quieter A975, after a mile or so I was able to take a well signposted track towards the Bullers of Buchan which are natural arches formed by the sea and well worth a look.

There is a well signposted track that takes you all the way along the coast to Slains Castle,here is a superb wreck of a castle that's in not too bad a condition when you consider its age.
Slains Castle
I carried on along the coast finally stopping off at Cruden Bay for a spot of lunch.  After eating I walked along the beach (GC No14) towards what looked like a track (on my map) up to the cliff tops, thankfully when I arrived at the end of the beach the track was signposted and what a view from the top looking across Cruden Bay!
Cuden Bay
Soon after walking along the cliffs I had to cut inland to Whinnyfold and then along a very quiet road all the way to Collieston.  Collieston is beautiful and reminded me of Devon/Cornwall its one of Scotland's best kept secrets!
After Collieston I looked at my map and made an assumption, and that was all sand dunes are the same size! How wrong could I be?  Very wrong as it turns out, the dunes after Colleiston are the size of cliffs and covered in grass so look in every way the same as any other coastal cliff!
Hackley Bay
The walk along the cliffs was fantastic, really well trodden paths and superb views, eventually it all came to an end as I had to walk inland towards my end point which was Newburgh.  Today was yet another great walk and one I would happily do again.

Accommodation: Air BnB Aberdeen.  This my second visit to an Air BnB and much better the last time I used this service.  Jon the owner was great company and gave me free rein to relax and put my feet up in front of the telly

Friday, 26 June 2015

Walk 211

Fraserburgh to Peterhead 23 miles

After what I thought was going to be a difficult nights sleep (youths using the street as a racetrack around the hotel!) I made my way out of Fraserburgh. As there was is no bridge across the small river that runs into the sea at Cairnbulg I opted to walk along the road instead ( GC No11) I then turned left down the B9107 and headed towards Inverallochy.
Inverallochy Beach
There is a small beach at Inverallochy that I managed to walk along passing by GC No12, I soon arrived in St Combs and the main attraction of today's walk 14miles of uninterrupted beach walking all the way to Peterhead.
Rattray Head Lighthouse

Mile after mile of beach, I was in heaven!!!  I passed by Rattray Head with its distinctive lighthouse plonked in the middle of the sea and then the Gas Terminal and finally arriving in Peterhead via a very useful foot bridge across a river that links GC No13 with Peterhead.
                         My accommodation was on the far side of town so I had to walk the three miles around the whole town which was very busy with various ships of all shapes and sizes.

Accommodation: Alexanders Invernettie Guest House. I nice quiet place to stay. £40.00 Bed and Continental breakfast

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Walk 210

Macduff to Faserburgh 26miles

I couldn't wait to get out of Macduff or as it will now be known Macdump! I picked up the A98 for a mile or so (walking past CG No9) before turning left along the much quieter B9031, most of today's walk was to be along roads/tracks which was OK as the traffic was very light.
Gardenstown from St Johns Church
I meandered along the road for a few miles before turning left along a track to St Johns Church ruin, I wasn't sure I could get down to the at Gardenstown but I took the risk of having to back track anyway, as it turns out I was in luck there was a very decent track to the beach and the views over the bay were fantastic.
As I made my way down the zig zag track I thought how happy I was taking a punt on there being a way down to the beach/village.
Gardenstown on the level
I made my way along the beach and through the village There is also track that's accessible at low tide that goes around the bay and comes out at Crovie.  At Crovie I headed inland along some very unused tracks and came out at Middleton, here I picked up the B9031 again  before taking a track left at East Mains, I followed this past a few farms and eventually ending up in Rosehearty.
Looking back to Gardenstown
I scooted around the harbour at Rosehearty and picked up the B road to Fraserburgh ( GC No10), passing through the pretty village of Sandhaven on the way.
              I stopped to take a picture of the 2 lighthouses outside the Scottish Museum of Lighthouses in Fraserburgh.
Fraserburghs Lighthouses

 I am always impressed by a lighthouse but two in one place was amazing! I didn't know what to do with myself!!!

Accommodation: Royal Hotel, Faserburgh.  I ended up staying here due to a mix up at the accommodation I booked, I would not recommend this hotel to anyone as its a dump that charges £51.00 a night, the rooms are old,cold and dated and the fact that they had only 2 rooms let for the whole night in a 24 bed hotel says it all.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Walk 209

Cullen to Macduff 17miles

After another bad nights sleep in a Youth Hostel I picked my away around the coast path towards Sandend, the path was clearly defined and took me up high onto the cliffs where I was able to get a great view of Findlater Castle which was built into a rock but sadly my photo does not do it justice.
Findlater Castle
I carried on along the path all the way to Portsoy via the very beautiful bay at Sandend, which was a favourite camping spot for a few people.
Sandend Bay
Portsoy seemed like a nice place but it was here that the coast path came to an end and I had to take to the road again.
The road was very quiet and its marked on the map as a cycle route so I didn't expect much traffic, and that certainly turned out to be the case!.
After a few miles of road the route turned left towards Whitehills where the cycle path continued around the bay all the way to Banff (GC No8) and its beautiful bay.

Banff Bay
I followed the route around Banff and had to briefly navigate my way along the busy A98 but thankfully this soon disappeared once I'd walked in Macduff.

Accommodation: Martin and Monicas Bed and Breakfast £30.00 Very nice stay which is more than can be said for Macduff....Duff by name Duff by nature, its a sadly run down fishing port which has seen better days.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Walk 208

Lossiemouth to Cullen 25miles

A long day today which started off with a nice 3 miles hike along the beach towards Kingston.

First order of the day was to cross the Innes Canal which feeds into the sea at Lossiemouth, thankfully there is a nice footbridge which takes you directly onto the beach.
Lossiemouth Beach
The beach only lasts for a couple of miles and then turns to shingle, fortunately there is a path by the side of the shingle that is well trodden. About three miles into today's walk I noticed that the red flags were flying at the rifle range a couple of miles ahead so I walked inland to avoid the area. The path took me through the forest and eventually adjacent with the rifle range, and this is where it gets weird as there is no path in the forest around the range! so I had to walk along the path (ignoring the red flags!!) and past the range, and they were defiantly firing.... thankfully in the opposite direction!!!! My walk then took me through the pretty village of Kingston and across the river Spey via one of the very best Ex railway bridges I have ever crossed.
Spey Bridge
Once across the bridge I turned left and followed the path along the river until it reached the sea at Spey Bay, I stopped at the marine museum for tea and cake and then followed the track alongside GC No5 all the way to Portgordon where I picked up the Speyside way which runs parallel with the busy road all the way to Findochty ( via Buckie).
                        The road/path took me past the pretty village of Gordonsburgh.

No far after Portessie the coast path made its way around GC No6 and onto Findochty, I walked around the lovely harbour and walked around the bays to Portknockie.  At Portknockie the coast path heads upwards to the top of some cliffs and you get magnificent views towards Cullen, also there is a spectacular rock formation call the Bow and Fiddle which I found fascinating and stood and stared at it for quite a while.
Bow and Fiddle rock

Not far after Bow and fiddle rock I had a choice of paths, either I walked downhill and crossed a small river next to Cullen Bay or take the high route and hopefully get the views.....I'm glad I chose the latter as the view across Cullen bay was amazing.
Cullen Bay
Eventually I followed the path down to the sea shore ( via GC No7) and made my way along the sand to today's final destination, just before arriving in Cullen I took a picture of the viaduct which is now used as a cycle path.
Cullen Viaduct
Cullen is a nice village and a great end to a fantastic days walk one that I would gladly do again.

Accommodation: Cullen Youth Hostel £17.00

Monday, 22 June 2015

walk 207

Forres to Lossiemouth 23miles

I caught the bus to Forres from Nairn on another cold and gloomy day, it felt more like November than July!  I started the walk from the town centre and made my way via the very quiet back roads to Kinloss.
RAF Kinloss
I made steady progress all the way along the very quiet B9011 until reaching Findhorn, right at the very tip of the estuary, I stood and looked at the gap between me and the forest at Culbin and I could almost touch the other side, but unfortunately I had to walk the long way round as usual!!
Findhorn Bay
I yomped over the sand dunes and made it to the beach....all 8miles of it!!! WOW what a beauty, this went all the way to Burghhead.

Halfway along the beach and I came across a number of school children taking part in their sports day, even though the day was cold the kids were having a lot of fun, it was great to see!  Eventually I reached Burghead and I had to stop at a cafe for a cuppa just to get warmed up as now a light drizzle had started! Once I had been fed and watered I followed a disused railway line out of town which had been converted into a cycle path, this path took me to Hopeman and my second GC of the week.
Sculptors Cove
The cycle path carried on for a few miles before ending just before the GC at Clovesea, once again the beach came to my rescue form having to road walk and this took me past the spectacular lighthouse at Balgreen.  I have seen quite a few lighthouses on my walks but never one this close to the beach.
Balgreen Lighthouse
Passing by the GC at Lossiemouth I made my way around the headland and my bed and breakfast for the night, a thoroughly enjoyable walk.

Accommodation: Ceilidh Bed and Breakfast, 34 Clifton Road. A really nice BnB and not to far from all the places to eat in Lossimouth £35.00

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Walk 206

Nairn to Forres 18.5miles

Today I passed out of the Highlands and into Moray, this was quite a historic moment for me as I had traipsed my way around the Highlands for many a walk and now it was time to leave!
Nairn Beach
The day was cloudy and rain hung in the air as I made my way along the beach at Nairn, the other very pleasing fact about today was that this marked the first of many days without having to walk along a main road YAYYYYY.  Soon the beach ran out and the massive Culbin  forest started, a clear track skirts around the edge of the forest separating you from the marsh and the trees.
Looking back to Nairn
The forest goes on for many a mile and it was nice not hearing any road noise today, after a couple of miles I passed the borderline between the Highlands and Moray fortunately it was marked on the map!  The path eventually ran out and I was faced with scrambling over dunes until I reached the beach and what a beach!!! I couldn't believe that I was the only person on what can only be described as a spectacular beach.
You can see the gap between Cromarty and Nigg in this Picture!

I walked for a few miles along the beach until I reached Finhorn bay, I turned inland towards Forres and I stayed on the beach for as long as possible until I was forced into walking through the forest and eventually a few minor roads towards the town of Forres.  Today had been one of the best days walking since the north coast of Scotland and little did I know that in the next 8 days things were going to get even better.!!!!!

Accommodation: Waverley Hotel, Nairn for a second night

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Walk 205

Balloch to Nairn 17.5miles

I stayed in Ardersier overnight so I could catch a bus in the morning back to my start point at Balloch.  I asked the bus driver to drop me at the turning for Balloch, but you have to ask yourself sometimes why people are in certain jobs as his response was to make me feel bad for asking him such a question! Miserable Git!!!!
                    So as I made my way along the busy A96 my thoughts turned to the last time I was on this road when someone with the intention of mugging me had stopped his car and tried to force me to get in, he was  driving in the opposite direction and was extremely aggressive and nasty, I obviously ignored him and was thankfully saved by flagging down a bus going in the right direction.  This incident shook me and now I am very weary of people approaching me whilst I'm walking (unless they are other walkers).
                    Soon the A96 carried on and I turned left down the much quieter B9039, this took me past Castle Stuart and the road that takes you to Inverness Airport. Inverness Airport has been my choice of Airport for some time now and I was sad to see it go :(
The B9093 wound its way along the bay until finishing in Ardersier, I then picked up a path taking me all the way to Fort George, as today was Saturday there were no red flags flying at the rifle range so I was able to walk all the way around the bay along the sand.
Fort George Bay
Eventually the bay finished at a Platform Construction Site where they used to build oil drilling platforms, this site went out of business a long time ago and it was quite spooky walking past the old buildings. Not long after the site I got chatting to some people who had come to see how the it looks now as they used to work there many years ago, it was really interesting to hear their stories. I carried on walking away from the site and had to walk along a 2 mile arrow straight road before meeting up with the A96 again.
The long straight road
I was only on the A96 for 1/2 a mile before turning off left towards the sea, I walked alongside my first of many golf courses all the way to Nairn.  The sea front at Nairn is lovely with its beach and grassy area for picnics they say first impressions last and in this case it was certainly true.

Accommodation: The Waverley Hotel, High St. Nairn £30.00 BnB. A very old hotel that's also right next to a fairly busy road, the place has seen better days but not too bad a stay.