Ages: Colin was 66 years and 138 days. Rosemary was 63 years and 281 days.
Weather: Grey skies but remaining fine.
Location: Portmahomack to Tain.
Distance: 11 miles.
Total distance: 1756 miles.
Terrain: Grassy track and firm sandy beach. A lot of road-walking.
Rivers: No.147, Burn of Arboll. No.148, River Tain.
Kissing gates: None.
‘Historic Scotland’ properties: None.
Ferris wheels: None.
How we got there and back: We were staying in a holiday flat in the roof of someone’s house about three miles from Dingwall. This morning we got up early, put Colin’s bike on the back of the car, and drove to Portmahomack where Colin dropped me off. I strolled round the harbour of this very pretty village while Colin drove on to Tain and cycled back.
At the end, we finished at the car. We had our tea and lip-smacking caramel squares, then returned to Portmahomack to pick up the bike. We drove back to Dingwall — a long way but we finished our Walk much earlier than yesterday, and we had no shopping to do. So we managed to return to the flat when it was still light — just.
While Colin was parking the car and cycling back, I walked around Portmahomack’s harbour. There was a mixture of leisure and fishing boats moored there, but all of them were very small. A group of men were standing on the quay with their hands in their pockets. A small fishing boat came buzzing in, they put one box of fish on its roof and then it buzzed off. I think the fishing industry is in a really bad way! Such a pretty little town, too.
I strolled back along the seafront to where we had parked the car yesterday. There I sat on a bench with my puzzle book until Colin arrived. My peace was shattered on occasion by military jets screaming overhead! I suppose they’ve got to practice somewhere, but they always seem to choose the most beautiful and peaceful parts of the country for their manoeuvres.
We ate our pies before we started the Walk. Colin wore a knee support all day. He has had his knee X-rayed but they couldn’t find anything wrong with it, which is puzzling because it has given him a lot of jip intermittently over the years. Whether the knee support helped or not I don’t know because he didn’t say. But it gave him a psychological boost if nothing else. Like all the aches and pains which we increasingly suffer from as we get older, he had to try and ignore it and get on with things hoping it would go away.
We were delighted that we were able to walk all the way to Inver on the beach. It had looked a bit rocky on the map, but the tide was out and we were able to walk on firm sand most of the way. The beach started to get rocky before we’d left Portmahomack, so we went up some steps between houses to get on to a narrow lane. This ran out very quickly, but instead of just ending it turned into an official footpath to Inver. So we knew we would be able to get through along the shore. A grassy track led us down on to the beach again, which was lovely firm sand. Excellent!
Yes, we did pass slimey rocks covered in seaweed and green stuff, but we were able to bypass them on the sand. Colin photographed lots of birds with his long lens — herons, eiders, gulls and cormorants drying their wings.
This stone commemorates the contribution made by
the people of Inver and the Tarbat and Fearn areas
who left their homes and land at short notice
from December 1943 to May 1944.
Their evacuation was needed to enable the British armed forces
to prepare for the Allied invasion of Normandy.
This concentrated training of the 3rd Infantry Division
and the naval force ‘S’ was considered vital
for the D-Day landings on 6th June 1944,
and helped bring World War 2 to a successful conclusion.
At least they were allowed back, unlike the people of Tyneham on the Dorset coast whose neglected homes were destroyed by the Army in the 1950s (though they have always denied this) and the villagers have not been allowed back to this day!
The cars were intermittent, but drove very fast because this was mostly a straight road. Especially the 1.6 miles of dead straight road — many drivers thought this was a licence for them to practice Grand-Prix style driving! We had no choice but to walk on the tarmac, the grassy edge was too uneven and full of potholes hidden under the weeds. Most vehicles moved across to the other side or slowed down as they passed us, but a few did not and that was frightening. We walked in single file facing the oncoming traffic, but the most terrifying situations occurred when two cars approached from behind and one overtook the other. This happened at least twice, and scared the wits out of me! Even cars which we were facing, if one was overtaking the other there was nowhere for us to go. They didn’t seem to be aware that we were there, even though we had both put on bright yellow reflective waistcoats for this part of the Walk.
That ended Walk no.199, we shall pick up Walk no.200 next time at the western end of the shoreside park in Tain. It was ten to five, so the Walk had taken five hours twenty minutes. We had our tea and caramel squares, then returned to Portmahomack to pick up the bike. We finished our Walk much earlier than yesterday and we had no shopping to do, so we managed to return to the flat when it was still light — just. We are now walking a very long way from our accommodation, that is the trouble with it being static. We could do with a caravan.