David had some business to conclude, so I grabbed a lift to the College of Roseisle to do a little investigation of the woods.
I’d noticed quite some time ago a new sign post pointing into the forestry at the edge of the village so this was where David dropped me. I had a momentary faff before heading off and shortly afterwards came across a couple of way markers. I had a choice. I chose the footpath as opposed to the bridle path, not because I have any problem with the possibility of meeting horses, but because I thought the path might be less muddy. Wrong. Apparently, horses can use the footpaths as well and it was nicely churned up and muddy. Great.
I think I’ll go…this way
I have to say, not particularly inspiring
…with such a nice view?!!
I wasn’t exactly sure which paths the route would take, but I intended to make my way to pick up the Moray Coast Trail in Roseisle Forest, just south of Burghead. The first junction I met was a way mark away to my right, but it was just marking the bridle path to return to the start. I followed my personal rule, if there are no other indicators on a marked path, keep straight on. So I did, and for the next couple of junctions until I met a T junction. My choice here was east or west. Well, as I was intending to walk to Findhorn, the sensible thing was to head west. This would take me to the road, quite a busy road and I would then have to quickly trot about 250 m south to pick up the track leading into Roseisle Forest where I would meet the Moray Coast Trail.
As I stood contemplating crossing the road, several lorries passed by and I wasn’t particularly happy. I wondered if I could just trot straight across the road and in to the edge of the forestry which was quite open at this point and whilst it was likely to be rough ground, it would at least be off the road. I trotted across at the next available opportunity and was delighted to find that others had indeed found themselves in a similar position and there was a lovely track worn, winding it’s way through the trees with ease, popping me onto the track into the forest. Bonus.
Off I went. A lorry turned off the road and made its way along my track. Followed by a heating and electrical engineer van. I think he was in the wrong place, because he turned around and went away. I continued on until I happened across a couple of signs, ‘Diversion’ and a map. As I was peering more closely at the map, a small van pulled up along side me, I turned on my best smile as I heard the window wind down, turned and said “Good morning!” in my cheeriest voice.
After a little chat about forestry works and diversions and heavy machinery, he decided I could continue on my route (I wouldn’t have minded taking the diversion, it was obviously close by although the sign I’d seen was heading the wrong direction, there must have been one heading the right way, if he’d pointed me to it) as long as I was aware of the machinery and waited for it to stop to pass safely if necessary. I didn’t see much evidence of it as I hurried on my way, although I could hear it working near by.
I know these woods and most of the routes in it and it wasn’t too long before I was in the picnic area where the toilets are shut for the winter. I sent David a text to let him know my whereabouts whilst I nibbled on a granola bar, just in case he was on his way back, but hearing nothing from him I texted again to say I was leaving the car park and continued on my way. There would be no opportunity for escape now until I got to Findhorn.
It was a glorious day, crisp and cold with a touch of frost, but clear blue skies and that low golden sunshine. A great day for a walk. I sauntered along quite the thing, I met no one after leaving the car park and didn’t expect to until I made it to Findhorn. The track continues through the trees for a while, following the line of the shore until eventually it turns north and takes you towards the sea. The path then turns west again and wonders along through the edge of the woodland and close to the eroding cliff edge. The original path that I first walked about 8 years ago has slowly been eaten away by the sea and very little of it still exists. New bits of path have been cut through the trees.
Eventually I left the trees behind and made the surprising decision to scramble down a sandy bank to walk along the shoreline. An unusual decision as I hate walking on sand or shingle beaches, I don’t know what possessed me. Especially as, knowing the route like I do, I knew there would be no way back up the bank for quite some time. Ho hum.
Where the path used to be
I don’t know what I was thinking…
I tried to walk along the wet sand for easier going, but the sea can’t count and what should have been every seventh wave (usually the Big One) was more random and I had to take an occasional sudden sideways skip to avoid soggy boots. I made my way slowly along the beach, just pausing to take a phone call from David checking on my progress. I eventually made it to a lower bit of banking where I was able to clamber back up and onto the path. It had been nice to walk on the beach for a change, but I was glad to be back on the path and was soon speeding my way towards Findhorn. Along the front is a view point with one of those map thingies showing the mountains on the horizon where I stopped to take the last few photographs of my walk before making my way to the pub for well earned fish and chips and a pint. And a lift home.
Name the gadget Gayle please!
Approximately 8.14 miles and 306 ft total ascent.