Posted by: natsevs | November 1, 2010

Rattray Head to Stonehaven

After a good night’s sleep in the hostel I had breakfast and re-packed whilst listening to the radio. I made my way back out to the beach through the dunes where a nice morning sky was making the lighthouse look pretty impressive again. Further down the beach was the remains of a shipwreck sticking out from the sand that added to the character of that stretch of beach. A river came out through the dunes but the tide was right out so I was able to paddle through where it had spread right out and to be quite shallow.
As I came to Peterhead I had to come up off the beach to walk along the edge of the golf course to a bridge over a considerably more substantial river. A mixture of promenade and roads took me through Peterhead which was like walking through a town from the past. I diverted onto the high street to find some lunch but there wasn’t a single food shop in sight so I carried on along the road round the bay. Whilst walking along there, I came to a petrol station with a Spar shop. The worst Spar shop ever. It was over priced and under stocked and I ended up eating the rankest sausage roll I have tasted for my lunch.
Carrying on through the town, I came to a place called Boddam, a look in their local shop was equally fruitless so I still had chuff all for breakfast the next day. After a bit of road walking, a track took me to an old quarry, then there was a path along the cliff top to Slains Castle and ultimately to Port Errol. It was back to road walking out of there, ending up on quite a quiet country road surrounded by fields. There was however quite frequent farmhouses and not a single hedge in sight so discrete camping opportunities were non-existent. I eventually found a field without livestock in and a single gorse bush giving me some cover from the road.

Nobody came to move me on despite there being quite heavy tractor traffic going to and fro in the evening as well as the following morning. There was heavy condensation on my tent so everything was a little damp as I packed it away before taking the road onwards to Collieston. It was a really sunny day and Collieston was a nice place to pass through even if it had no shop. Out of there was a cliff path around Hackley Bay that then dropped down to dune level to head inland to the bridge over the river Ythan.
Once over the bridge, I walked along the roadside to Newburgh which was a pretty place but more importantly, had a half decent shop. I chomped down on a very welcome steak slice as I passed through a quite scenic Newburgh then went through the golf course, over the dunes and onto the beach. The beach was looking good in the sunshine and there were a few other people milling about, there was even a couple in the sea. After stopping for a little sit down, I continued along barefoot all the way to Aberdeen. It was a really long beach. The walking was really nice though and you could tell when you were passing where a town hid behind the dunes because there was suddenly a load of people on the beach. At one point there was a pool in the sand with terns circling above and diving down into it.
Near to Aberdeen, just after passing by a rifle range, a guy came the other way who I chatted to briefly. I got to Aberdeen at around 4.30 so had a sit down on the beach before coming in to the bridge into town with my boots back on. Once I had got most of the way down the esplanade I stopped and got some tea whilst I waited to be picked up by Richard, a family friend. The evening consisted of a home brew and a game of Balderdash.

I woke fairly early but slept on and off until half 8. I was dropped back off at the Fun Beach at 10 with the skies looking a lot cloudier than the previous day. The esplanade carried on down to Footdee where I had to head in round the docks. There was a bridge over another river then I walked out through fish docks towards the coast. The docks absolutely stunk, to the point where they actually made me feel quite ill. The road goes out past the golf course and along to a lighthouse at Girdle Ness.
Out of Nigg Bay I took the coast path for a good while. In places the path was quite good and the going was quite good, taking me all the way to Cove where I came in to the road around 1pm. From then on I followed the cycle path signs along the road, seemingly surrounded by quarries. There was the occasional bang as they obviously blew out a few more rocks. At Findon the map showed a path over to Portlethen so I went along the road that the path was supposed to come out of. At the end of the road I was surrounded by red/orange pods and warehouses. A sign told me I’d wandered onto a survival vessel (lifeboat) inspectors. I got a bit disorientated going through there but found the path out the other end, which was obviously not very well used as it was overgrown with nettles and brambles.
Once down the gully, over the stream and up the other side, the path was more open and I made my way out and round to Old Portlethen. There were tracks and paths from there through Downies and Newtonhill to Muchalls walking over ‘craig david’ in the process which amused me. It was onto the A90 out of Muchalls but there was a pathway at least so it wasn’t too bad. I came off down to Stonehaven bay and got to the campsite just before 6, where the guy who runs it told me I was lucky I’d got there when I did because they were closing, even though he lived on site. I thought he was joking but when a German campervan arrived around 8pm and knocked on his caravan door, he had a go at them for disturbing him and didn’t let them onto the site. What a businessman.
There was a Scottish family camping next door who I talked to for quite a while whilst the local kids shouted and got drunk on white lightning or something similar. I out my headphones in and listened to the radio to drown out the noise when I went back into my tent.


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