Ages: Colin was 66 years and 87 days. Rosemary was 63 years and 230 days.
Weather: Mostly hot and sunny, some breeze but too little. (There were dark clouds over the Black Isle across the water!)
Location: Hopeman, via Burghead, to Findhorn.
Distance: 10½ miles.
Total distance: 1650 miles.
Terrain: Disused railway line to Burghead. Then beach all the way to Findhorn, except where we diverted into the adjacent forest to avoid shingle.
Tide: In, started to go out later.
Kissing gates: No.155 as we entered the forest at Burghead.
Pubs: The ‘Crown & Anchor’ at Findhorn where we drank Deuchars IPA because that was all they had — and Colin nearly fainted at the price!
‘Historic Scotland’ properties: None.
Ferris wheels: None.
Diversions: No.54 — Colin insisted on diverting into the forest to avoid a shingle beach. I wasn’t keen, especially when the ‘path’ veered away from the coast. I insisted we return to the beach, which we did to find the shingle situation better.
How we got there and back: We were staying in a holiday cottage in Gardenstown. With Colin’s bike on the back of the car, we drove to Hopeman where Colin dropped me off to amuse myself for an hour and a half. He drove on to Findhorn where he parked behind the dunes near a toilet block. Then he cycled back to Hopeman.
At the end, we finished the Walk at the car. After drinking tea from our flask, we drove into Findhorn where we went to the pub because it is a rare commodity in this part of Scotland — a ‘real ale’ pub! It was very disappointing, only one beer on and very expensive. There was a fish’n’chip shop nearby so we bought some, drove to Hopeman and ate them by the harbour. (They were excellent!) The clouds over the Black Isle area were amazing! Then we strapped the bike to the car and drove back to our cottage in Gardenstown.
In the end I had to insist we went back to the beach. It had got very rough underfoot with roots and holes in the undergrowth to trip the unwary. A shingle beach would be much easier than this! We turned right — we could just about see the sea through the trees so we knew which way to go. The bank at the edge of the forest was very steep at that point, and Colin had to help me down. I was so relieved we were back on the beach, I’d had visions of us walking round in circles in the forest and getting nowhere. By then the tide had just started to go out, and sandy patches were appearing between the stones. So the beach wasn’t so bad after all.
That ended Walk no.189, we shall pick up Walk no.190 next time near the sand spit at Findhorn. It was ten past six, so the Walk had taken just over six hours. After drinking tea from our flask, we drove into Findhorn where we went to the Crown & Anchor because a ‘real ale’ pub is a rare commodity in this part of Scotland! It was very disappointing, only one beer on and very expensive. There was a fish’n’chip shop nearby so we thought about buying some to save me cooking when we eventually got back to the cottage. After that expensive beer we were not sure if we had enough cash. We asked the chip shop manager if there was a cash machine in the village, but there was only one where you have to pay to take your money out. Now I object very strongly to having to pay to take my own money out of my own bank account, so we stood there counting every last penny each of us had in our purses. The chip shop manager was very amused by this, and said, “You can stand outside and sing if you like!” I think we were about a penny short, but he generously let us off this and we bought some haddock‘n’chips. We drove straight to Hopeman and ate them by the harbour. (They were excellent!)