Monday 29 June 2015
Cullen to Lossiemouth
Dave and Cally’s house, Elgin
I was fortunate not to have a hangover this morning. But the sun was shining and it was nice to sit outside the hostel with a cup of tea admiring the view across the harbour.
Having left the pub without paying last night I had to walk back up the town, get an envelope and post some money through the letterbox of the Three Kings. Once that was done I could set off, through Seatown and across the Cullen links golf course.
I climbed up the cliff and watched a fishing boat setting creels to catch lobster and crab.
There was a path along the headland and I was able to admire all the amazing rock formations and stacks produced by the deeply folded beds of Cullen quartzite. The best one is Bow Fiddle Rock.
Portknockie was the next town, and then Findochty (can be pronounced Finickty). All of these towns are built to the same mould but some, like Findochty, look brighter with their brightly painted houses.
I stopped at The Admirals pub for a coffee and to do some blog writing. I ended up staying for a spot of lunch. I had Cullen Skink, a creamy seafood and fish soup with potato and onions. Delicious.
I climbed up the cliff again and stopped at the war memorial to admire the view. Then it was a walk around yet another golf course and down the hill to Buckie. The town of Buckie seems to have swallowed the small towns of Portessie, Ianstown and Gordonsburgh, although all 3 have their own nameplates there is nothing to them. There is a colony of grey seals on Craigenroan Rock just offshore from the old Strathlene lido that is now filled in with stones.
I walked along the Buckie sea front and this town did not have the same feel as the other harbour towns. Buckie is bigger and still has a small shipbuilding industry, which used to build the herring fleet trawlers. Buckie had a large herring fishing fleet in the early 1900s and the Cluny Fish Kilns are still in operation, smoking fish for over a century.
I saw dolphins swimming along not far off shore. I managed to get a photo of one breaching, although it’s not very good without a proper camera.
I stood quite some time watching the dolphins and getting talked to by a young lady with incredibly bad teeth (probably from drinking cans of Irn Bru or Monster as I frequently see). Eventually I said I had to go and carried on to Portgordon, which seemed really rundown and there were several houses up for sale. I then headed inland slightly and onto the Speyside Way, a National trail that follows the River Spey, Britain’s fastest flowing river.
At Spey Bay I stopped to check out the Scottish Dolphin Centre and there were quite a lot of people trying to spot dolphins (I didn’t boast that I’d had a great view of some at Buckie). The Moray Firth is home to a pod of almost 200 bottlenose Dolphins and they are significantly larger and fatter than other bottlenoses as this is the farthest North and the coldest sea they are found.
I walked about a mile up the River Spey to the first bridge and crossed it into Garmouth where my friend Dave had agreed to pick me up.
From here to Lossiemouth involved a long, and dull walk along shingle next to a forest so I decided to give it a miss. It had been a long enough walk and Dave’s wife, Cally, had cooked a lovely dinner and I was keen to meet the children and answer their questions.