Tuesday 23 June 2015
Tod Head Lighthouse to Aberdeen
Oli’s house (Sam’s friend)
I woke up to the sound of screaming gulls and a wonderful 270 degree view out of the lighthouse.
After breakfast Rohan walked me the “pub route” (scrambling around the cliffs) to Catelline, where she left me to catch the bus to Dunottar rather than walk on the road.
Dunottar Castle was worth seeing. The ancient stronghold of the Earls Marischal of Scotland it has a long and colourful history due to its fantastic position on a high cliff surrounded by sea on 3 sides. It was the sight of a failed 8 month siege by Cromwell that saved the Scottish Crown Jewels.
From Dunottar to Stonehaven was a well trodden path (hurrah) via the Stonehaven war memorial on Black Hill. It was built in 1922 and was designed to look like temple ruins. It’s siting and design made it possibly the most impressive war memorial I had come across.
It was then a short walk down into Stonehaven, the birthplace of Robert Thompson, inventor of the pneumatic tyre.
It seemed like a really nice town so I had a look around and stopped at the Cool Gourmet cafe, which I highly recommend for coffee and a homemade scone. Unfortunately the open air heated swimming pool, filled with sea water at the start of the season, was closed otherwise I might have been tempted for a dip. Instead I decided I wanted to walk to Garron Point, which is the Highland fault boundary, and is just North of Stonehaven. It marks the line between the sandstone rocks to the south and the harder, granite-type rocks to the North, the border between the Lowlands and the Highlands.
I’m pleased I walked this route up through Cowie Kirkyard and across the golf course as the views back to Stonehaven, Black Hill Memorial and Dunottar Castle were excellent.
As it was already the afternoon, and the next section didn’t have marked paths, I walked back into Stonehaven to catch a bus to Portlethen. The bus stopped at Asda in Portlethen so I popped in to get a couple of bits and then thought I might as well push the boat out and get a taxi to Cove Bay to avoid a stretch of road walking. This worked well as it enabled me to enjoy the last stretch into Aberdeen along a beautiful coastline. I took the time to stop and watch the kittiwakes and razorbills nesting on the cliffs, ignoring the terrible smell.
There were lots of caves in the cliffs and it was generally a very pleasant walk.
I crossed the stony Nigg Bay and then rounded Girdle Ness, past the lighthouse, and the port of Aberdeen came fully into view. There were lots of ships anchored in the bay and plenty more in port. It was a long walk around the port to Footdee, the old port area of Aberdeen with the new Marine Operations Centre. Here I met Oli, a friend of Sam’s, who had kindly agreed to put me up for the night. Another outdoors person, like Rohan, it was nice to chat and Oli was a great host. I was feeling really lucky to have had a few nights of good company now.