Posted by: natsevs | September 27, 2010

Helmsdale to Nigg

The dorm room was too hot so I had a rubbish sleep, plus my phone had fallen down the side of the bed so I had no idea what time it was when I woke up. I talked to a few of the people as I had breakfast and they were all quite nice. I wasted some time having a shower and re-packing but had to eventually force myself out into the rain at 9.30.

My route carried on along the A9 once more with the rain carrying on intermittently through the morning. Whilst I sat on the road side I was beeped at and looked up to recognise the guy I’d spoken to in Dunbeath Campsite speeding by. At Brova, I went to the shop and got some lunch then headed to the front as I’d been told by a few people that there was a path right along to Golspie and beyond. I started along that with the sun popping out in spells. Enough to encourage me to take off my waterproofs in fact.

A way along there was something triangular bobbing in the sea and I couldn’t work out what it was until it moved and I realised it was a seal chillaxing. As I approached it swam off a bit but then there was an otter as well so I got some photos. Further on there were more seals really close in, then a group swam by just off the beach, breaching like dolphins. It was about here that I saw a load all sunbathing on the beach ahead. I came up onto the path as I approached. There were about 5 people already there and I stopped to appreciate them too.

Even on the path at the top of the beach i was only a matter of metres from the closest seals. I could have stayed all day but had walking to do. Walking on I got to Dunrobin Castle and tracks from there took me onwards to Golspie. Out of town I took to the beach again to stay below the golf course and carried on down there for quite a while. I came up to walk behind the dunes for the last bit to Littleferry then started back on myself a bit, up the road.

I was feeling pretty rough by this point for some reason so very keen in finding a camp spot soon. I stopped about a mile up the road in a spot obviously popular with campers and there was actually a campervan on the other side of the trees as well but I wasn’t too bothered by them.

I managed to fall asleep with chewing gum in my mouth and earphones in so was obviously tired. My day started along the road before turning off into woodland. I was in there for a while but came out onto a farm track heading up to the A9 once more. That took me to ‘the mound’ crossing loch fleet then I went onto a single track road on the other side where a minibus almost ran me over.

There was a big group of seals on a sand bank in the loch with loads of tourists taking photos from the shore. I took a track then path took me to Embo then I had to go through a caravan park to get out before hitting the beach. It was a nice walk along the beach to Dornoch where I came up to a car park and back onto road. I got some lunch there before taking a small road along the links. That rejoined the A9 before it goes over the Dornoch firth and I stayed on it to Tain passing the Glenmorangie distillery.

There had been a few showers over the day but coming into Tain a proper one brewed then absolutely dumped on me so the waterproofs came on swiftly. Tain highland gathering was happening as I walked through but I didn’t stop to look in. Out of Tain I took a small road along the edge of a danger area and the rain came down again.

The road took me all the way to Inver as the weather cleared and it was brighter when I arrived. I set up my tent just out of there behind the dunes and noticed my left boot heel had worn right through.

It rained on and off all night so I was very tired in the morning. It was still miserable as I set off along the beach to Portmahomack. I got there about 11 and nipped into a shop. I was able to stay strong for about 2 minutes before eating the steak slice I had bought for my lunch. Coming out of there the path went through a field full of cows which at first blocked my way. They stampeded away as I got closer though and turned to watch me pass. As soon as my back was to them they began running after me. I kept having to turn and shout to stop them. I tried going down a slope to hide but it meant I was even more at risk of being crushed by them so I stuck to shouting and flailing my arms.

I walked through fields to the road at Tarbart Ness then down to another path along the bottom of a cliffline slope. The grass soaked my legs but otherwise it was a nice walk. I had stupid sheep running in front of me for about 2 miles to go with the stupid cows from earlier. I got to Hilton and moved onto another path over to Balintroe. Out of Balintroe on the road there was a glass box in a field. Upon investigation it was a stone with Pictish engravings on it protected by a glass building. I was on road all the way to Nigg only about 100m from where I will he walking back tomorrow at times. At Nigg I took a smaller road up a hill and set up in a sheep field.


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