Today promised to be a long day but filled with lots of diverse scenery. We woke up in the B&B but this time we got to eat breakfast earlier at 7:30 am and that let us get an earlier start to the day. Breakfast was the now typical hot Scottish Breakfast, but the eggs and sausage were particularly good today and I started with some cereal as well. I do think we were the only guests last night so we did have Terry's complete attention.
Today was scheduled for 19 miles, but I immediately cut a bit off that by not going back into the Culbin Woods the way we had come past Brodie Castle and instead heading into the small village of Dyke then following the minor roads to Broom of Moy and Forress as planned.
The path through Dyke into the woods
The Burnie Path wasn't all in the woods, but stayed on some minor roads that were not very busy.
We again started to look for unusual and beautiful cottages along the road as we walked.
The bridge crosses the River Findhorn
Just on the outskirts of Forress is the Sueno's Stone. It is a Pictish Stone from the first Millennium AD. It is over 20' tall and protected by a glass enclosure to make sure it remains unchanged now. It is the largest stone of its kind in Scotland and made from red sandstone.
A story is told in the carvings on the stone.
In order to help get walkers and bikers across the A96 there is a great bridge that goes over the highway right behind the park with the Sueno's Stone. You can see the bridge through the glass in the picture above.
Vicky on the path to Kinloss
Kinloss RAF base is right by the road and warns walkers and bikers of low flying aircraft and even has a stop light for traffic when the planes approach from the sea side.
We were now walking on the Moray Coast Trail. The Moray Coast Trail starts in Forress and goes until Buckie. So far we have been on the Great Glen Way from Drumnadrochit to Inverness. The North Coast Trail from Nairn to Forress and now the North Coast Trail coincides with the Moray Coast Trail.
After our rest at the Findhorn Foundation it was a short walk through Findhorn back to being at the beach. We passed a couple of bikers getting set up for the night right on the beach access. At this point it had started to rain again and we stopped to get our waterproof jackets and pants on as they hurried to get their tents up. We still had 6-7 miles to go today.
With the chilly and rainy weather we got down to the beach to find that we had the entire coast line to ourselves. there was not one other person we could see as far as we could see
I took a picture both behind and ahead in the photo (below)- no one around but us crazy Americans walking the North Coast of Scotland in the rain and wind.
We started to see the first signs of old WWII fortifications along the beach. Old pill boxes now laying in ruins on the beach. (above and below)
Vicky walks along the beach. We found that the sand just outside the tide mark is the firmest and best to walk on. If you get too far up the beach the sand is dry and soft and too close to the water it is too soft and wet.
The Morey Coast trail eventually turns inland for a few miles right at the back of the Kinloss RAF base. The path is clear, but it is an aesthetic mistake. Galye E Bird had reminded me that you can walk the entire way from Findhorn to Burghead on the beach and that is what we should have done.
It's not that the woods were bad, they were very pretty as it continued to rain, bu the beach was just so wonderful it is best to stay on the beach.
We came out of the woods at Millie's Burn and Millie's Bothy. The sky was beginning to clear and while there was a camping park with public toilets in the woods as it appears to be a popular park to come access the beach and woods, I knew there might be an ocean view worth looking for!
We came out from Millie's Bothy and while l let Vicky rest I went up on the dunes to look for a campsite for the night that would be above high tide and give us a view.
I found it! right up to the right from Millie's Bothy is a patch of level soft sand perfect for one tent. With views that were beyond any words I have. The above photo looks back toward Findhorn and the way we came and the below photo toward Burghead and tomorrow.
I think perhaps the finest campsite I have ever had. The wind did pick up in the night to 40+ mph gusts but the MLD Duomid never moved.
After making some dinner, I could not go to sleep... I just sat in the opening of the tent and just looked out on the water.
even approaching 10 pm at night I am still just sitting watching the water.