Day 262: Banff to Rosehearty
Distance: 22.48 miles
Ascent: 3972 feet
Weather: Sunny & Very Windy
Accommodation: Rosehearty COmmunity Boat Club CLubhouse, Under Construction (Kindly Offered)
I had slept well last night but woke up feeling exhausted, I am not sure entirely why. It was therefore difficult to get myself going, but in the end I didn’t leave to late. Today was actually a red flagged day as there were so many little off piste and awkward connecting sections that it could be a very difficult day. It was also pretty windy today, possibly even windier than yesterday but the sun was shining.
The start of the day took me across the Banff Bridge and into Macduff. After Macduff a road took me down towards Tarlair Pool (Lido), this would have been a beautiful art deco structure in its hey day but has been closed down and allowed to deteriorate quite a lot. It is Grade A listed so it would be nice if the council did actually maintain it and get it up and running before it deteriorates beyond repair or else sell it to a private developer to do so.
The path climbed up to the top of the cliff and from here I skirted the edge of a golf course, before going off piste across some farming fields (this is a great time of year for this as the fields have been harvested but not yet ploughed so easy to walk through) before joining the road briefly at Silverhillocks. Only a few hundred meters later I turned onto a single track road (more of a driveway) down to Mains of Melrose Farm and from there I followed the harvested fields all the way to More Head.
At More Head I had a stunning view along the coast and specifically down to Gardenstown & Crovie. The only issue would be getting down as the path that was supposed to exist didn’t, so I ended up skirting the edge of the fields for a while seeing no way down due to thick gorse before spotting a section I might be able to descend to the remains of St John’s Chapel. The gorse had gaps through here but the bracken was incredibly dense and in places as tall as me, this coupled with the steep slope and one hidden barbed wire fence made for an incredibly tiring descent. But I made it to the ruined church and then there was a lovely path down to the beach and before long I was in Gardenstown.
Gardenstown was lovely with the buildings all tightly packed together up the steep slope. Unfortunately, the little café was closed (maybe permanently) contrary to its opening times so I just carried on along the short stretch of undercliff path, with its rock gripping narrow section, to Crovie which again was lovely, much smaller and more a single row of houses along the waters edge.
From Crovie there was a steep climb up and out of the town onto the higher level. I took farm tracks and a short amount of off piste to get me to Troup Head which the RSPB have something to do with. From here it was a slightly weird mix of farm tracks, edge of fields and then sneaking by a house before rejoining the road about a kilometer short of Pennan. The descent down to Pennan was incredibly steep and I was hoping my route out the other side worked otherwise I would have to reclimb back up here.
I reached Pennan and was excited to try and grab a snack as I was starving but again unlike what their opening time stated my options were closed. It was a bit stupid really as I had actually run out of food (bar a few nuts) which I shouldn’t really have done given the amount of shops in the last few days. But it meant I would have to miss lunch today and just push on to the end where I knew there was definitely one shop if not two which would be open.
I was worried about my route out of Pennan as I thought it was off piste and over quite steep ground but just as I was leaving Pennan there was a footpath sign pointing where I was going so I built up some confidence. The path was good but suddenly I came to a field of bullocks who were a bit excitable, but I built up the confidence to walk by and they soon lost interest in me. I took a break at Pennan Farm before joining farm tracks towards Aberdour. I was just coming to a group of cows and calves when I heard the tractor coming up behind and I thought as he went by the cows might disperse but they didn’t. More worryingly the farmer stopped about 50m or so later and turned round and watched, it was as if he was anxious about me walking by his cows even though I was on a public footpath. One cow did start getting aggro and the farmer did begin to reverse but then it stopped, and I carried on walking and jumped the gate I needed to keep on the footpath as quickly as possible.
At Aberdour I joined a quiet public road and had proposed after a couple of miles at Egypt Farm to turn of down towards the cliffs and follow the cliffs into Rosehearty, but as it was windy I decided just to follow the road into Rosehearty rather than risking the cliff route.
The Rosehearty Community Boat Club had kindly let me stay in the building that they are doing up into there clubhouse (at present a building site with no electricity or water), it is basic but I am very happy as it shelters me from the forecast strong winds and rain tonight. I also grabbed food which I wolfed down after having no lunch today
A quite tough day due to the route and wind but hopefully I will wake up more refreshed than today tomorrow morning.