Today is the day, we make it to the sea. We woke up from a good nights sleep in the Caravan Park. It rained a bit during the night but it had stopped by morning. It was cool and breezy to start the day. It was just a short walk to the coast from here.
We packed up early and got going from the RV park. This was a really nice pitch
We are going for 13 miles today. But first we had to cross the A96 again. Then it is down a minor road. There is nothing in the distance so it must be the sea.
Then it is down to the sea. cloudy and overcast but we couldn't be any more delighted. Being locked in the Midwest of the US there is nothing like seeing a really large body of water.
Vicky posing by the sea
The first town up on our coastal walk is Nairn. As soon as we hit the beach we had to walk next too the Nairn Golf Club's course. As we would come to find out the entire coast of Scotland is littered with golf courses. I think we would count at least 5 if not more courses on our way to Fraserburgh.
After the golf course which was fun to get the looks from the golfers of two Backpackers walking just out of bounds of the course along the sea wall, although we did pass several people walking their dogs so we were not too out of place. We walked into Nairn proper and along the boardwalk. People would pass me with just a nod and a smile, but I would then turn around to find that Vicky was in full conversation with them.
EVERYONE likes talking to Vicky.
The harbor was especially idyllic in Nairn and the sun came out just as we were passing through.
I could not help myself, but it will wash away with the tide!
With the sun shining it was a perfect afternoon to walk down the beach
Passing Nairn and down the beach, finally going east again, you come to the Culbin Forest, not surprising by another golf course.
While Vicky and I were taking a break to have lunch in a sunny spot they appeared. John and Susan Plume from Steeton (Yorkshire) and Jane Asell from Denmark. It was nice to talk to them and hear where they were headed. They were going to wild camp in the forest tonight while we were headed for Brodie Castle.
The forest walk was nice and relaxing. it did have some boggy areas that are always hard on the ankles, but for the most part it was pretty easy walking today.
As we came out of the woods to point ourselves toward the Castle, we had to walk up a farmers field. In this case the cows were blocking our path. we had to make a wide detour and hop over a fence in order to not startle them too much.
The farm house was awesome. One of the reasons for coming on this route was to see the villages and cottages of Scotland. Further proving my point that there is no poverty in rural Scotland. This was an ultra modern open design with solar panels. Hopefully they didn't mind we had to come by right on their patio!
Looking South East from the high point of the road, I think these are the Cairngorms in the distance. We won't see them this trip as we did last year, but with the snow lingering on them, I think other Challengers might have to change some of their plans of going up high as well.
Signs for Brodie Castle (above) and the Castle (below)
It makes quite a dramatic impact walking up to it from the long entrance and then Vicky posing in front. A quick stop in the gift shop to find out they don't carry lapel pins of the Castle!
Our plan was to stay at the Old Mill Caravan site literally across the street from the Castle. We had anticipated it would be the same as the Delnies Caravan site from last night. I had even emailed the Old Mill site a month ago to make sure they would be open, however when we got there no one was around and there was a sign on the reception building to ring a phone number. So we called and explained that we just wanted to pitch our tent for the night. The owner turned out to be quite rude and short with us, letting us know the park was closed for the season and despite watching workers out cutting the ample grassy area right in front of us, we should leave.
Disappointed we crossed over the A96 again! and went back to the intersection with the castle entrance. Here we found the Invercairn House and Terry. A lovely guest house B&B and he was very nice to answer the door and accept us without a reservation for the night. The building used to be the old train depot for the stop at the castle. He also confirmed the owner of the Caravan site to be an "Old Curmudgeon"
After our disappointment was converted. we felt the only answer was to also go a drink some. So the Old Mill Inn (no relation to the RV park, even though it sits right in front of the entrance to the RV park, (otherwise we wouldn't have set foot in it). This was recommended to me by Louise before the trip as having excellent food. It did not disappoint as it looked like a Scottish pub and the food was fantastic. I had the local dark beer and Vicky of course had her usual berry cider.
We had dinner early then it was back to our very comfy room (still no real hot water, this is getting to be a recurring theme in Scotland B&B's) However it was very lovely and we slept well.
We went about 14 miles today in very good time and are looking forward to continuing on.