Wednesday, 4 December 2013

When the Wind Blows

Moray Coast Trail

Day Two

Hopeman to Lossiemouth Woods

Or Plan B

(Or Plan C)

The original plan for today was to walk from where we finished yesterday along the path to Lossiemouth Woods, but as we knew the forecast for the end of the week is abysmal and we weren’t going to be able to do the best bit from Buckie to Cullen, we came up with Plan B, to meet at Cullen and do a car shuffle so that we could do the best bit.

Then, I saw the forecast for today and Plan C was hatched, where by I would check the forecast again this morning and text Laura if a change was necessary.

At 6.30am, TTS brought me my mobile so that I could check the forecast before I dragged myself out of bed. Sure enough, the winds were due to pick up during the day in readiness for tomorrow’s storms, and as I don’t do cliff edges well at the best of times, I sent a text to Laura proposing a complete change of plan, meeting at my house before doing a different walk, slightly in land.


Dallas Dhu Distillery, through the wet windscreen


Grey skies

After a small amount of faffing on my part, we departed and I directed Laura to the Dallas Dhu Distillery, which was entertaining. After waiting for a shower to blow through, we abandoned the van and set off on a walk I did with Mick and Gayle on the Altyre Estate back in August. Except…

We set off out of the car park and I decided not to do the first bit of road walk but to launch straight onto the estate paths. As we rounded the corner by Estate Offices about half an hour later, we were confronted with an on-going shoot, which was a tad disconcerting, but they were moving away from us and I knew we were going to be walking on the other side of the estate, so we continued passed Blairs Home Farm and Altyre House. Last time I consulted the map more than I should have needed as I can be a little insecure when leading, but this time I made positive decisions and was therefore surprised when we happened across a ruin I’ve never seen before. So surprised, I didn’t photograph it. However, I could see my then goal (plans changed on the hoof) so easily located our unexpected position on the map and settled on our detour to meet my then preferred track.


We left this nice surprise track behind

We continued and met the little road to Half Davoch where I expected to and a few hundred feet later took a little path I thought would have been useful. It probably would have been except for the un-crossable stream, so we returned to the road and changing our plans, again, continued to Clashdhu instead. We could have taken the track through the farm there, but decided to pick up the Dava Way, which we did. We never did take The High Path that I’d intended.


After displaying her ice-skating skills on the icy road, Laura closely examines the information board about the Clashdhu Crossing


An information board about The Dava Way


Random photograph to illustrate sunshine


A close inspection of the Scurrypool Bridge


Laura, a couple of bridges away from Squirrel Bridge


The Folly

After inspecting a couple of information boards, we beetled along the Way through the estate. There’s quite a lot of railway stuff along the Way, bridges, fence posts and things, so quite interesting. We looked at (what remains) of the Scurrypool Bridge and continued on to Squirrel Bridge, where the Way leaves the now sodden rail bed and continues alongside it. Here however, we left the Way and made our way on estate tracks passing livestock, the folly, the overgrown curling pool (which is being cleared) through the farm yard, passed the ruined church, the currently vacant osprey nest and the cross slab, Ogham, to return to the van and eat sandwiches.

It was another brief and speedy walk, but a nice change of scenery. It was a lovely morning, as it turned out, but cold and I think we would have felt the breeze and the cold more keenly on the cliff edge. Certainly, it is currently horrid out there.

Roughly 7.15 miles, 542 ft ascent at a reasonable speed.

Thank you Laura!


Gayle said...

I looked at this one through screwed up eyes (figuring that I could retreat and turn off photos if need be, so that I could read the words without seeing the pictures), but it turned out not to be necessary. In fact, I recognised some of those places (even the distillery through a rain-streaked windscreen!).

Having seen the forecast for tomorrow it looks like, if you're not careful, you'll be Blowin' In The Wind...

Louise said...

Yep, you were quite safe with this one! The forecast did not look good and although we actually had a nice day on the estate, David said it was wild at Lossie, so I think it was definitely the right decision. So funny when we happened upon the ruin I've never seen before though. Bodes well...

Louise said...

Oh, and no, we're not walking tomorrow. No way, no how...