The Moray Coast Trail starts at Forres. This means that there is no need to drive as Good Mrs and I were staying in just Forres. You just put on the boots and then get cracking (and we counted on a local bus to bring us home).
The weather was misty and a bit damp as we set off but Good Mrs and I like the cool. It is perfect for hiking.
The trail officially starts at Findhorn. Hence, we first walked a back country road from Forres to Findhorn.
Lovely farming land with lots of barley growing (for malt Whisky) and fat cattle. In an hour we think we saw maybe 5 cars.
This is the view looking back to our little town of Forres, which was so picturesque.
We laughed at the sign on the right. Who supplied the Sat Nav coordinates in the first place?
An example of a fat, barrel shaped cow and no wonder with whisky barley discards and the lush green grass. The beef here is fantastic.
Now, this is an artistic interpretation of rolls of hay. Good photography, hey?
A self portrait of us and mist (perhaps not quite as artistic…)
The mist made us damp after a while so time to add another layer.
Our walking route to Findhorn is also part of a cycle path to Elgin. These markers showed distances and directions. 1,000 of them supplied by Bank of Scotland – we thought that was a good community initiative.
Behind me you could see our empty country lane. Peaceful for walking (unless Good Mrs was chatting…)
We reached Findhorn, a mixed community with farmers, retirees, holiday makers and artistic types. There we stopped for a coffee at a bake house. Directed there by a hippie looking chick. Good recommendation. The coffee was nice and we shared an excellent brownie too.
There was a guy sitting at the next table who looked and dressed like a younger version of Bono from the band U2. Accompanying him was an older gentleman. When they left, the older gentleman went to the driver seat and the Bono lookalike went to the back seat of a Rolls Royce.
Someone rich and famous with a chauffeur? No, he was a local eccentric and his dad drives the Rolls. The young guy got back out of the car with treats for some dogs tied up outside. We asked the dog owners afterwards. It turns out that the younger Bono carries with him Organic Doggie treats to give out to strangers’ dogs. Dogs that he likes himself. Definitely one of a kind.
There were a few jokes about Find Horn as we walked… Yep, we found horn…
We thought the views around Findhorn Bay were lovely even with the tide low.
Looking back across Findhorn Bay to where we had been walking.
The start of the Moray Coast trail that goes all the way to Cullen (about 48kms).
At the beach, just east of Findhorn.
The beach went on and on and on although there were all rocks and pebbles. And, of course, nobody there apart from us.
The pebbles and rocks were all round and smooth without any hard edges. We reckoned that the weather and the waves could be quite powerful in this part of the world.
And then suddenly, this… what are they?
Well, these are big concrete blocks along the beach, a leftover from WWII. Built as a preventative measure should the Germans decide to invade just here. In other words, invading Scotland from the north. Fascinating.
We did ask a passing jogger about it and she confirmed their earlier purpose.
Then a small vortex tower.
Flashbacks to Sedona, AZ, our nominated vortex capital of the world. Unfortunately, there was only this little tower, but I still got excited.
Moving on east along the beach and there had been some serious erosion. The path was gone in places and there was a significant drop down to the rocks. Good Mrs was checking it all out, but rest assure that she kept her distance.
Time for a break in this fascinating environment. In fact, this part along the beach was by far the most interesting of the whole of today’s hike.
However, at this point Good Mrs and I separated.
Good Mrs was cramping and limping a bit (definitely time for some massage). She figured another 8+km hiking might be too much. So she limped 2.5km back to Findhorn, having completed 16km, and had her lunch there. Before going back to our accommodation in Forres.
I continued hiking towards Burghead and then reached Roseisle Forest.
The Moray Coast Trail then goes between the water and RAF Kinloss which now is in the hands of the army.
This sign seemed to indicate that they don’t want people dropping in unannounced…
I was not sure what this was all about, all the sticks of the left hand side.
Again, RAF Kinloss is just to the right of here.
This looked like another military relic, presumably also dating back to WWII times.
An old concrete bunker. Note the little window to the left in the picture…
You would see this if you looked out of that window from the picture above. It seemed like they had cut down all the trees to provide a gun barrel view into the forest. The beach is just to the left of here.
Lunchtime was due and I took a self portrait as I was eating my sandwiches. Hmmm, perhaps not the best look…
After all the time by himself in the woods, suddenly anything but.
It was an “another one bites the dust” event aka wedding. There were suits and bridesmaids and all posh looking a bit further on. I moved on.
It turned out that this area was part of Roseisle Beach. I also noted a Belgian registered parked camper-van. The couple driving it had brought out a picnic table and chairs, with an almost full bottle of Scotch in the middle of the table . They were set in for a relaxing time.
Location shot to show how a lot of the trail through the forest looked like. Not traditional hiking trails but more fire trail sizes. It did get a bit repetitive after a while.
I then heard a sound from above and thought that it must be a big bird. No, it was this, a kite stuck in the tree that made a sound as the wind blew. There you go.
I then arrived in a built up area of sorts and the Moray Coast Trail went right through this caravan and trailer park. Interesting choice of path.
Confirmation that I had arrived in Burghead.
Looking back from Burghead toward Roseisle Forest.
Burghead was a pretty little town. It is on a narrow peninsula with only a handful of blocks between water on two sides as well as water as its end.
I wandered through Burghead and found Grant Street. Departure point for bus 32 to take me to Elgin. From where I then would have had to change to another bus for the return to Forres. The whole trip may take something like 1 hour and 15 minutes from departure on a bus that only goes hourly.
Given that I had plenty of time until the next bus, I walked into Burghead’s Visitor Centre. I wanted to investigate any alternative means of transport back to Forres.
I chatted to an amused senior citizen behind the reception desk at the Visitor’s Centre. He also asked questions about my 24+km walk from Forres and thought that it was all funny.
Our discussion was then overheard by another visitor. A young to middle aged woman. To cut it short, the lady offered me, and I accepted, a lift back to Forres in the car with her family. The woman, her likely husband and their young boy. The young one kept singing…, make that yelling, “Old MacDonald had a farm” in the car.
How kind was that? The couple asked many questions about our trip round the world. Where we have been, how long we will be away, what was the best, what do I miss from home etc. I thought that they may have believed that I was nuts.
In summary, I was back in Forres before the departure time of the next bus from Burghead. Fantastic! A 5 minutes stroll from where they dropped me off and I was back at Uralla B&B, our Forres accommodation.