Route: Not as planned. Adjusted to avoid off road sections where progress looked problematic, to minimise busy roads, and to add a pleasant off road section at the end
See http:/www.topwalks.com/tgoc2013.html Day 13 for map
Distance: 35 km (Cum 350)
Ascent: 650 metres (Cum 10150)
Time taken: 9.0 hrs including 1.5 hrs stops
Weather: bright, showery, bitterly cold, wind in face all day, full waterproofs to keep warm... are you getting the drift - not really very nice
Challengers encountered: none at the time of writing, and no non Challengers for that matter, except at the hotel. Lilo Pete is expected to appear at some point (late news - he arrived)
More of the same this morning. But first an admission. I failed to call in to Control on Monday. Ian Shiel, who as my vetter on several occasions has much experience of my incompetence, should perhaps have reminded me, but in the pleasure of the unexpected encounter with three people I knew, the phone call was never made. Sorry Control.
Last night another conundrum concerned me. 'Lilo' Pete, the ballet dancing hairdresser, sent a message saying he was at Findhorn and would maybe see me at Pennan Bay tonight. For those who know the local geography that's quite a hike. Anyway, he eventually faxed (or whatever you do these days) himself to Cullen, which seemed a more sensible and realistic location from which to start a day's walk to Pennan Bay.
I noticed last night that after Wolfgang had so generously brought the sponsorship for the Levana School charity nicely up to its target, the target had been doubled. So further donations will be gratefully received! (See 'charity' posting shortly before I set off on this walk, and a big thank you to all those who have already contributed.)
A brief but intense shower ensured the tent went away wet.
I got going soon after 7am and before long I was enclosed in full waterproofs and, for the first time on this trip, thick gloves. There was an evil bitter wind.
The morning was spent walking to Gardenstown on the north coast. On the way I had dodged some off road sections that didn't look viable, and I managed to reduce the amount of busy roads. Lesser Celandine lined some of the verges, and the gorse seemed infested with flitting yellowhammers. At least they weren't flying backwards like the seagulls.
Reaching the north coast (pictured) should have been a highlight. I had in mind a lengthy lunch in a nice pub or café. There was a small Spar shop. The place was deserted. Lunch was in a squall on a sheltered (but still windy) bench by the harbour wall.
The coast path to Crovie was brief but pleasant if you ignored the wind and rain. The sun appeared briefly.
My next objective was Troup Head to which a visit had been recommended by Roger B. Apparently there's an impressive gannet colony there. But the usual 'off road' problem thwarted me. Locked gates and barbed fences made it clear that visitors are not welcome. I'd been looking forward to a tramp along this north coast, but it's going to be a very limited one.
Never mind, we are going to Pembroke next weekend. Walkers are welcome on the stunning coast paths down there.
So I headed back in a big loop to join the B9031 road for the last lap of my tarmac trudge to Pennan Bay. I had plenty of time, and tiring quickly of the road I spotted an off road option that looked feasible, if extending my day by a good 4 km.
Suddenly I found myself on a nice earthen track, contouring through pretty gorse bushes Out Of The Wind. It was great. The walk up the Tore of Troup, returning to the main road on the east side of the burn, has much to commend it. Especially as once I reached the main road I could cross straight over an stroll down to the Pennan Bay Hotel to check in and enjoy the best cuppa of the day.
And this time I did remember to call Control, where Sue O and the team seemed in great form.
Sent from Pennan Bay with Sue and Pete and a pint of best