Last November we did this walk, but it wasn’t a complete success as it rained persistently and we ran out of daylight, so we had to abandon the walk at the Sandend distillery and I was thrown into the car of a complete stranger to get back to my car and return to rescue the girls.
We gathered at a really unsociable hour in Forres and as volunteer driver, I drove in the general direction of Buckie. Here, Jo and I abandoned the girls and drove on to Portsoy, left the car at Jo’s in-laws and cadged a lift to Finechty where we strolled west along the coast path back towards Buckie to meet the girls.From the left Angela, Rikki, Judith, Sally and Jo
Jo and I turned on our heels as we joined up and continued east along the coast path for a comfort break in Finechty.
The toilets were open
It wasn’t long before we arrived at Portknockie and as we regrouped, some of us had second breakfast, in the street , beside sheds in front of a row of houses. Odd place…
We continued on in fine, dry but very windy weather and as the wind was coming from a north-westerly direction, it was a bit chilly, but we were all suitably wrapped and managed to find shelter at regular intervals. It turned out that the path along most of this route is quite muddy and terribly slippery in places, but I don’t think any of us did more than the occasional graceful slide, not even me. The views along this coast line are stunning and the crashing waves added to the atmosphere.
Bow Fiddle Rock
Looking behind us
On we went and soon arrived in Cullen Bay and walked along the sand as the tide rushed in towards us. We found two tiny streams to cross and passed a chap arranging his gear to do some kite surfing. Barmy, we thought, as we trudged along.
And soon we were in Cullen. Last year, we desperately needed shelter at this point for a lunch break, but this year we were able to have a more civilised picnic at the table outside the powder room by the harbour.
We popped round the corner to visit last years picnic stop, but I fear the council must have got wind of the six bag ladies that made use of their comfy recycling skip because the gates were locked, so I could only get a photograph through the bars.
At this point, we had to have a waterproof faff, (those that weren’t already kitted up, so not me then!) but we were soon on our way again, along the beach, passed the pet cemetery and foaming waves to climb up to the cliff path.
Rather unpleasant cliff path
And down the other side to the memorial,( but can’t remember what or who to, I had wobbly knees at this point,) to continue on towards Findlater Castle, an extraordinary place built into the jutting cliffs.
It was a day of showers, but unfortunately mainly of hail which, with the force of the wind, was like a free course of exfoliation, just on one side of the face.
Onwards, ever onwards towards Portsoy, but first we had to tackle Sandend, the very reason we were back on these breathtakingly blustery cliffs.
A lot of the paths along this whole route were edged with barbed wire. Lovely
Looking back towards Sandend
Last year, we crossed the river at the middle left of this photograph and walked along the beach only to struggle to find a way across again or onto the path. This year, as you can see, the tide was so far up the beach we couldn’t even have attempted to cross, so took mine and Angela’s route from last year up to the fence and over into the cow field. The cows were further away this time and totally oblivious to us as we worked as a team to get over the barbed wire fence safely. Why is the ground always lower on the other side? We went through the field, over the gate and down to the newly built bridge.
Which we crossed and then had a snack stop before finding the path again over the last cliff top. Actually, as we went up this path, we came across some steps from the beach. We hadn’t needed to cross the river a second time last year. I think if we hadn’t been so bedraggled and weary by that point, we might have been thinking straight and noticed them. Maybe.
This was a lovely stretch of path, broad and trimmed, so much easier than the previous twelve miles. Portsoy soon hove into view and we once again had a spring in our step.
(Statistics from Finechty)
4 hours 54 minutes walking
1 hour 37 minutes resting
Between 2.9 to 2.6 mph moving average, slower towards the end
1987 ft ascent
All in all, not a bad day!