Wednesday 24 June 2015
Aberdeen to Newburgh
Invernettie Guest House, Peterhead
Oli gave me a lift back to the beach on the North side of the River Don. He walked the first couple of miles along the beach with me and I had an easy time of it because he carried my rucksack. It was nice walking with company.
Balmedie Beach is about 10 miles long so I had planned to walk most of the day on the sand, which should make for easy walking. The weather forecast was rain and it wasn’t long before the fine mist in the air became a fine drizzle.
The beach has beautiful golden sand and I saw very few people.
The further North I went, the more alone I seemed and the bigger the flocks of birds gathered on the shoreline: gulls, oyster catchers, one flock of eider ducks at one point and terns diving for fish. I also saw the odd seal playing just off the beach. The birds and the sound of the sea kept me company.
Halfway along the beach I walked through the only gap in the dunes and through Balmedie Country Park in search of a cafe in Balmedie. I saw a sign to the Beachside Cafe; little did I realise that it was a 30 minute walk from the beach! On the plus side, I was out of the rain for an hour and had a nice lunch.
I walked back to the Country Park and thought I’d follow a path through the dunes. It soon petered out and I had to cross the dunes and get back onto the beach.
After a few more miles I came to the River Ythan and had to turn inland to Newburgh. There was a colony of grey seals hanging around at the mouth of the river; most lying on the sand, some fighting and several in the water. The ones swimming were very curious about me. As I made my way into Newburgh the fine drizzle became heavier rain and I was forced to put on my waterproof. It was miserable and the thought of walking on to Collieston and wild camping, with not even a pub to go to, was appealing less and less. I walked past a bus stop and made a snap decision to wait 10 minutes for the next bus to Peterhead (tomorrow’s destination) as it is a bigger town. I found a basic guest house with a free room and was grateful to get dry. The weather forecast for the next few days is not good and today was pretty cold, only 9 degrees. I was glad I wasn’t camping.