Thu 22 Aug - Forres, Scotland

These boots are made for hiking... Yep, yet again... And eccentric British people.

First breakfast though, this is the Uralla B&B breakfast room. Lots of space around the table.

Today's accomplishment...

The Moray Coast Trail starts at Forres meaning no car required to drive us, just put on the boots and get cracking (and we counted on a local bus to bring us home).

It was misty and a bit damp as we set off but we liked the cool, perfect for hiking.

The trail officially starts at Findhorn but we started in Forres and walked a back country road to Findhorn first. The farming land was lovely with lots of barley growing (for malt Whisky) and seriously fat cattle, and in an hour we think we saw maybe 5 cars.

This is the view looking back to our little town of Forres, which was very picturesque.

We laughed at the sign on the right. Who was the one who supplied Sat Nav coordinates in the first place?

An example of a fat, barrel shaped cow and no wonder with Whisky barley discards and the lush green grass. Beef here is very good (as we sampled later in the day).

The mist and farmland made for good photography so our speed was not fast as Hans was having some artistic moments with the camera. NB: Di thinks he was right but did not say at the time...

Rolling, rolling, rolling... Not quite rawhide!

Now, this is a very artistic interpretation of rolls of hay. Good photography, hey?

A self portrait of us and mist (perhaps not quite as artistic...)

The mist made us damp after a while so time to add another layer.

The route we walked to Findhorn is also part of a cycle path to Elgin and these markers showed distances and directions. 1,000 of them supplied by Bank of Scotland - a good community initiative we thought.

Behind Hans you could see our empty country lane. Very peaceful for walking (unless Di was chatting...)

We reached Findhorn and stopped for a coffee at a very good bake house, which a hippie looking chick directed us to. Good recommendation. Coffee was nice and we shared an excellent brownie too. This area seems to have a mixed community with farmers, retirees, holiday makers and artistic types.

There was a guy sitting at the next table who looked and dressed like a younger Bono from U2. He was accompanied by an older gentleman. When they left, the older gentleman went to the driver seat and the Bono lookalike went to the back seat of a Rolls Royce.

Someone rich and famous with a chauffeur? No, he was a local eccentric and his dad drives the Rolls. The young guy got back out of the car with treats for some dogs tied up outside. We asked the dog owners afterwards and it turns out that he carries with him Organic Doggie treats to give out to strangers' dogs that he likes! Definitely one of a kind.

There were a few jokes about Find Horn as we walked... Yep, we found horn...

We thought the views around Findhorn Bay were lovely even with the tide low.

Looking back across Findhorn Bay to where we had been walking.

The start of the Moray Coast trail that goes all the way to Cullen (about 48kms).

At the beach, just east of Findhorn.


Yes, the beach went on and on and on although there were all rocks and pebbles. And, of course, absolutely nobody there.

And they were all round and smooth without any hard edges. We reckoned that the weather and the waves could be quite powerful in this part of the world.

And then suddenly, this... what are they?

Well, they are big concrete blocks along the beach, a leftover from WWII as a preventative measure should the Germans decide to invade just here, I.e. in Scotland from the north. Fascinating. We did ask a passing jogger about it and she confirmed their earlier purpose.

Then a small vortex tower. Flashbacks to Sedona, AZ, our nominated vortex capital of the world. Unfortunately, there was only this little tower, but Hans got excited nevertheless.

Moving on east along the beach and there had been some serious erosion. The path was gone in places and there was a significant drop down to the rocks. Di was checking it all out, but rest assure that she kept her distance.

Time for a break in this very fascinating environment. In fact, this part along the beach was by far the most interesting of the whole of today's hike.

However, at this point we separated.

Di was cramping and limping a bit (definitely time for some massage) and figured another 8+km might be too much. So she limped 2.5km back to Findhorn, having happily completed 16km, and had her lunch.

Hans moved on towards Burghead and then reached Roseisle Forest.

The Moray Coast Trail then goes between the water and RAF Kinloss which now is in the hands of the army, but demands a huge area. The sign seemed to indicate that they don't want punters dropping in unannounced...

Hans was not sure what this was all about. Note all the sticks of the left hand side. Again, RAF Kinloss is just to the right of here.

This looked like another military relic, presumably also dating back to WWII times.

An old concrete bunker. Note the little window to the left in the picture...

This would be what you would see if you looked out of that window. It seemed like they had cut down all the trees to provide a gun barrel view into the forest. The beach is just to the left of here.

Lunchtime and Hans took a self portrait as he was eating his sandwiches. Hmmm, not the best look...

Suddenly, after all the time where Hans was all by himself in the woods, this...

It turned out to be an "another one bites the dust" event aka wedding as there were suits and bridesmaids and all posh looking a bit further on. Hans moved on.

It turned out that this area was part of Roseisle Beach. In addition to the previous group, there was a Belgian registered camper-van parked where the couple had brought out a picnic table and chairs and in the middle of the table was an almost full bottle of Scotch. They were set in...

Location shot to show how a lot of the trail through the forest looked like. Not really traditional hiking trails but more fire trail sizes. It did get a bit repetitive after a while.

Hans suddenly heard a sound from above and thought that it must be a big bird. No, it was this, a kite stuck in the tree that made a sound as the wind blew. There you go.

Suddenly Hans was in a built up area of sorts and the Moray Coast Trail went right through this caravan and trailer park. Interesting choice.

Confirmation that Hans had arrived in Burghead.

Looking back from Burghead toward Roseisle Forest.

Burghead was a really pretty little town, on a very narrow peninsula with only a handful of blocks between water on two sides as well as water as its end.

Hans wandered through Burghead and found Grant Street where bus 32 would have taken him to Elgin where he would have had to change to another bus to go back Forres. This would have taken something like 1 hour and 15 minutes from departure on a bus that only goes hourly. Given that Hans had plenty of time until the next bus, he walked into Burghead's Visitor Centre to see whether there were any alternative means of transport back to Forres.
As Hans was chatting to the mildly amused senior citizen behind the Visitors Centre about what he had done, walking 24+ km from Forres, the discussion was overheard by a middle aged woman.
To cut it short, Hans was offered, and gladly accepted, a lift back to Forres with the woman and her husband and their young boy, who kept singing... make that yelling, "Old MacDonald had a farm" in the car. How nice was that. The couple was very interested in hearing about our round the world trip and asked many questions. Hans thought that they probably believed that he was nuts. In summary, Hans was back in Forres before the departure time of the next bus from Burghead. How good is that? A 5 minutes further walk and he was back at Uralla B&B.

Meanwhile Di easily caught a local bus back to Forres.

After showers and bit of recuperation, we then went out for dinner at Mosset Tavern in Forres. Di looked happy with the choice.

Hans chose a Scottish Rump Steak which turned out to be an excellent choice. The meal was absolutely delicious. All washed down with 2 pints of Stella Artois, which Hans thought that he well deserved, and he was a very happy man.

Di had slow braised lamb in red wine and her meal was also fantastic.

Our waitress was a very switched on young Scottish woman who we chatted to throughout the evening and we got to hear a fair bit about her and her two young sons etc. Fun.

Dusk was in progress as we left Mosset Tavern and crossed High Street to get back to our B&B. This is Tolbooth Tower (toll with one l only is correct).

We got back and sat in the common room for a while chatting to Don, the owner. Among other things, he told us about Stephen Gough aka "The Naked Rambler" who intended to walk from Lands End to John O'Groats.... Naked. He got arrested in England and also every time he entered Scotland and he spent some 6 years in prison. He also appeared naked in court... We had some good laughs.

Another full on day and we retired back to our room really satisfied with our day. Good night.


No comments:

Post a Comment