Posted by: natsevs | October 6, 2010

Nigg to Craigiemore

I had a fun night waking up every couple of hours to blow my mattress back up so was pretty tired in the morning. To add to that, some little biting insect had gone to town on me overnight and so I was a little itchy as I set off down the road. I looped round the end of the peninsula and started back up the other side with lots of buzzards for company.

The road took me up and around the top of the bay to Arabella then I took the turning towards Kildary. I was missing a map so checked in the garage then post office both unsuccessfully. As I left the post office the door swung shut a little too easily so it slammed quite loudly. I was a little embarrassed and very apologetic.

The road came right against the coast from there to Invergordon where I managed to find a newsagents with maps in. As I left the town there were loads of people coming the other way with candy floss and all sorts. It turned out there was a fair and raft rave going on at the sea front. The sun had well and truly come out and it was getting pretty hot as I made my way to the A9.

Once onto the A9, I walked along the verge all the way to Evanton getting a few beeps from cars. Couldn’t tell if they were nice or abusive. Once in Evanton I got myself a bru to cool off and headed for the campsite. The reception was empty and I rang the bell to no response so I thought I’d have a sit and a wait. When i rang again a lad came over to check me into the bunkhouse. I was the only person staying in it so I was able to have a very relaxed evening even with being covered in insect bites.

I was up at 8 even though I had intended to have an easy morning. Even on a go-slow I was ready at half 9 but thought I would watch tv until I had to be out at 10. I didn’t end up leaving until half past because I couldn’t resist catching a bit of something for the weekend.

The morning started quite cold and cloudy but the sun was soon cooking me again. I was back onto the A9 to the bridge over to the black isle. It was a long one and at the other side were roadworks taking away the pavement as well as half the road. I ignored the sign saying “No pedestrian access – ring [???] for assistance” and just walked right against the cones towards the oncoming traffic. On the other side i took to a very long road to Balblair.

There were tiny little flies being blown around by the breeze and mostly landing on me. On my arms, legs and far too often on my face. It was horrible. I got to Balblair then carried on round a bay on the same road to continue on to Cromarty.

I got there around 5 and there were loads of people around enjoying the sun in their own ways. It is quite a pretty town with a little harbour and stuff but I didn’t stop. Following the shore to meet a path over to South Sutor. Whilst there were a few other people out walking, none were as sweaty as I was, especially as I made my way uphill along this path. I was treated to some great views as a result though.

Once up, I was back onto roads to Mains farm then along the top of a ridge darting for shade at any opportunity. At Navity there was supposed to be a path down to the shore. I walked to the road end where a vague track still existed but once I reached the cliff edge it was obvious the path down was gone. The slope was covered in bracken but I eventually decided to go for it and try to get down the least steep bit I could see.

So over the fence I hopped, landing in nettles then I started downward. I couldn’t judge where the ground was because of the bracken so it kept disappearing under my feet. It was really steep and on top of the bracken and nettle there was plenty of brambles and gorse. It wasn’t the best idea to go for it, especially when I reached the bottomto see there was nowhere to camp at all.

A mile or so further on though I reached a bothy that the guy at cape wrath had told me about. The single log still smoking in the fire place was a little odd but I soon got over it not least because I’d arrived at half 7 pretty knackered.


During the night I shone my torch towards a scratching noise to illuminate a rat in the fireplace. Otherwise it was an uneventful night. I got some porridge on the go then went out to get a photo of the morning. Whilst out there a dolphin breached right in front of me. Other than a few sea birds there was nothing and no-one else around so it was pretty special. My photo attempts were special in the other way and I returned to burnt porridge before turning off the stove and going back out to watch the dolphin.

It was all beach walking to start although there was a little bit of clambering over rocks. As Rosemarkie came into view the odd footprint turned up in the sand, then there started to be people about. I stayed on the beach round to the point which had a big group of people stood together on it for some reason. When I got there I saw that there were a group of dolphins in the water there. I stayed up on the grass to avoid the crowd who were moving on mass from side to side every time the dolphins moved. They’d all lift their cameras in unison every time a dolphin breached too only to lower them frustrated. Occasionally one of the dolphins would jump out vertically or in a loop which was awesome.

I took myself away after a while and took to the beach back up the other side to Fortrose. I got some food there then walked the road to Avoch before taking to a single track road round to Munlochy. Once there, and back on the main road, I crossed over a stream and onto another farm track along the edge of a bay. The track split and I managed to choose wrong as usual ending up having to scramble through cleared forestry land to get to a field and back on track.

There were loads of grouse around in the estate  zigzagging in front of me. Once I was out of there I found a spot in a field to camp down for the night.


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Responses

  1. Just found your blog by accident…what an amazing adventure. Looking forward to following the rest of your journey

    Ros


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