TGO Challenge 2015 Day 8 Brodie Castle to Millie's Bothy Wild Camp

Day 8
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.
 Past the Village of Broom of Moy and over the bridge

The bridge crosses the River Findhorn

 Into the town of Forress. We like Forres very much, it had its Modern side as we first entered from the Broom of Moy. We actually stopped at the local Tesco Grocery Store (like a Walmart) on the busy A96 for about an hour to have ice cream and a rest along with picking up some items for the next few days for snacks and dinners.  Then we carried on to the older part of town with its rows of store fronts, narrower streets, gardens and parks. Vicky and I both commented that this would be a town we could live in easily combining the best of modern conveniences with the charm of traditional Scotland.
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. 

 Path signs giving distance to next significant villages and towns.

Vicky on the path to Kinloss
 Through Kinloss where we again remarked at the architecture of the old churches and homes.

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.
 Just before Finhorn we were a little tired and looking for a place to sit down for a bit and we came across the Findhorn Foundation (a commune) This place was exactly what we were looking for. It had a small cafe for hot drinks and sandwiches, a grocery store and meat market that was wonderful and fully stocked, an RV site and other semi-permanent home sites all in a big community right on the water.  We stopped here for lunch and a hot drink. they had excellent public restrooms and we just relaxed for a bit. There had been a lot of road walking today and that really tires you out and hurts your feet much more than walking on trail.

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. 

Today is the reason why I like to backpack. It was a long day on our feet and I like those, but it had everything. We walked through woods, we walked through towns, we walked along the beach. We saw great architecture, we talked to nice people. It was more mentally challenging than physically challenging, we spent time talking and time being quiet, and we ended the day in the most beautiful spot on earth. What ever happens now the trip has been worth it. 

10 comments:

  1. Fabulous! Although Kinloss is no longer an RAF base, sadly. Some two years or so ago, it became Kinloss Barracks and a brigade of engineers are now based there. All very sad. The Nimrod in the photograph is one of just three or four entire aircraft that were saved, none of which are able to fly. Incredibly sad.
    But you had such a fab day and what a glorious pitch!

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    1. thanks Louise- it still says RAF Kinloss on my map so I just went with that. they still protect it with barbed wire like it was important! :-)

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    2. I think the barbed wire is to keep the most recent incumbents safely inside...

      What a wonderful summing up Craig: "Today is the reason why I like to backpack. It was a long day on our feet and I like those, but it had everything. We walked through woods, we walked through towns, we walked along the beach. We saw great architecture, we talked to nice people. It was more mentally challenging than physically challenging, we spent time talking and time being quiet, and we ended the day in the most beautiful spot on earth. What ever happens now the trip has been worth it. "
      Spot on, Sir!
      :-)

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    3. They do like their barbed wire! But it's nowhere near as important as it once was 😞

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  2. Days like these are so special, they fill you with boundless energy. Some really spectacular photographs Craig, really glad you got to come back this year after the difficult walking you had last year.

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  3. What a spectacular way of narrating your feelings about your trip! Perhaps you and Vicky will return again some day and remember these beautiful scenes and the feelings you had while viewing them. Sometimes it is really good to just sit quietly and look at what our universe is really saying to us. Good job, son!

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  4. I'd title today 'Peace'. Very well written.

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