The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Wednesday 14 May 2014

Day 6 - by Findhorn to beyond Lossiemouth


Wed 14 May (0740-1720)
Distance: 20.5 miles (Tot: 117.5)
Weather: mainly sunny morning, clouding over as the afternoon went on.

As we set out on the 6 mile stretch of beach between Findhorn and Burghead this morning, we agreed that, as TGO Challenges go, this one feels like we're cheating. Whilst the majority are yomping through bogs and hauling themselves over passes and/or summits, here we are having a beach holiday on the Moray Riviera, in the sunshine, without any taxing navigation and with easy walking.

Assuring ourselves that we're not really cheating (we're within the Challenge area and walking a route that has been vetted and approved), we got on with the important job of enjoying our surroundings. The Moray coast is a mighty fine place to be, and the added interest of that section to Burghead is the evidence of coastal erosion. Aside from trees which have fallen from the edge of the forest onto the beach, as the ground supporting them has been undermined, there are wartime pillboxes and anti-landing defences sitting in the middle of the beach which must (surely?) have originally been on the coast edge.

Reaching Burghead something occured which I had been anticipating: we bumped into someone Mick knew. It happens on every single trip to this area. (For those who don't know, Mick spent the best part of his working life flying on Nimrods mainly based at RAF Kinloss - hence he knows a lot of people in this neck of the woods. One of the photos above is of one of the few remaining Nimrods, which happened to be sitting within feet of this morning's route.)

Soon after passing the incredibly ugly distillery in the otherwise pleasing Burghead, we paused for elevenses. Having covered half of the day's distance in the first 3 hours, we clearly needed to slow down and take more breaks.

Setting back off, we found ourselves on a tarmac cycle path for a while. It was only last August that we were on that section of path and it was unsurfaced back then. A sign told us that the 'upgrade' to a tarmac surface was to encourage both cycling and walking. Does anyone realy prefer tarmac to a dirt surface for walking?

On the approach to Lossiemoth, and through acres of flowering gorse, first a white look-out tower, then a white lighthouse, stood out as attractive landmarks against the blue sky. Caves, coves and cliffs also caught our attention, keeping us in a state of being happy walkers.

High tide prevented us from walking the first bit of the beach to Lossie, so we took to the dunes, pausing along the way for lunch. With cheese placed on the oatcakes, but before a bite was taken, along came two ladies who stopped for a chat. It turned out that one of them was a good friend of someone Mick knows from his Kinloss days...

The pause for lunch gave time for the tide to recede, so along the beach we went to Lossie, where a coffee shop called our names as we passed. If I'd known there was a popular ice cream shop around the corner, I would have opted for ice cream over tea (somehow, it didn't feel right to have both). It was outside the ice cream shop that we passed another ex-colleague of Mick's (it sometimes seems to me that he knows half the population of Moray!) and stopped for another chat.

From the relative bustle of Lossie, we soon got beyond the range of the dog walkers on the beach, and continued on another couple of miles in solitude before looking for a pitch. I do believe this is the first time that I've ever camped on a beach - albeit we are on a grassy bit just before the dunes start. There's a tall bank of washed-up pebbles between us and the sea, so we can clearly hear the waves, but don't have a sea view.

Click here for Day 7

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  1. You guys have got nothing to prove, and anyway, there won't be many averaging more than 20 miles per day. Enjoy!

  2. I know Moray quite well, and Burghead has to be my favourite place. Dont forget to go to the shortbread factories! Walkers in Aberlour is lush.