Monday, 21 March 2011

From high tide to full spate

Yesterday, Ciara and I grabbed a lift to Roseisle Forest with David and Aedan (on D of E business) and walked home along the Moray Coast Path. It’s a pleasant route which I’ve done various bits of at different times. Yesterday was a nice day, a light south westerly and it was high tide.
SG102462 Morven
SG102466Culbin Forest on the left and Ben Wyvis with a bit of snow
SG102467The path goes on for a while through the trees
SG102468 But…
SG102469 When David and I first did this route a few years ago, the path used to go this way. The speed of the erosion is shocking. Six miles and 70 ft ascent, whoop de do! Two hours walking.
Today David and I walked again. I have a girly walk at the weekend and I had fancied a bit of an adventure in the hills above Cawdor Castle, but with the huge dump of snow last weekend and the major thaw this, I thought we might encounter a few watery issues. I decided David and I should go on a reconnaissance trip.
Well, it was quite fun right from the word go. We couldn’t find our way out of Cawdor! Eventually we found ourselves on the road out if Cawdor (as the Castle grounds are still shut) until we found a track that lead into the woods. This was an extremely pleasant path through the varied woodlands, alive with birds and easy on the eye. We found the bridge quite easily and although it wasn’t a nasty, wibbly wobbly bridge, I did not like the rushing water way below.
SDC11319 Look at that unhappy foot…
SDC11320This really doesn’t do it justice, you need the roar
There will probably be lots of photographs of water, me thinks.
We continued on this path through the pretty woods until what should have been the end. Only it wasn’t. There’s a house with a sign, “Strictly Private, Keep Out”.
Hmmm. Well, we didn’t want to walk through their garden if we didn’t have to, so we backtracked and found another faint path going in the right direction and at the end of that was the road and bridge we were looking for. Oh yes!
SDC11326 Bit full
SDC11328In fact, in quite a hurry
By this point, we knew we wouldn’t be able to ford even the feeder streams, but we could stay on the east bank of Riereach Burn and complete a circuit of Clunas Reservoir, so off we went. Another pleasant enough path through farm land until eventually we came to the ford we knew we wouldn’t cross today.
We were sooo right!
SDC11329 No way, no how!
SDC11330I’m not sure we’d even ford this when not in spate, I shall have to return during a drought
SDC11331Someone had kindly left a hut (locked) and a picnic table, so we made ourselves at home for lunch
Unfortunately, despite it being a beautiful day, the wind was getting really strong. If we had continued along the east bank, there would soon be a steep climb to a path along the edge of a sheer drop down to this burn. I’m not good at heights, drops, rushing water and high winds, so I voted for a return to the road and take an alternative route back to Cawdor.
We took the road for a while before turning once more into the woods at Achindown. There were some detours taken due to fallen trees and we did encounter a path along the edge of a sheer drop that was wet and slippery, but I managed admirably. We disturbed three roe deer, warming themselves in a sunny glade, they were so graceful as they disappearded through the woods.
SDC11335 Cawdor Castle
This was just a bit of fun, a fact finding mission and it was very useful, I enjoyed it greatly and found the experience of being so (safely!) close to the river in spate awe inspiring, thrilling, enthralling but a good, powerful reminder of the dangers.
7.85 miles, 632 ft ascent, 2 hours 43 mins walking, 50 mins 'resting', 2.6mph average.

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