Day 258: Culbin Forest to Hopeman
Distance: 28.94 miles
Ascent: 998 feet
Weather: Sunny Spells with Showers
Accommodation: Wild camp Near Hopeman
It was lovely waking up in the tent this morning which was well sheltered though I could hear the wind whistling through the trees above. It had taken almost a couple of hours walking through the wood yesterday to the pitch spot and it would take a similar amount of time to get out again. Some of the woodland felt quite wild but a lot of it this end felt managed due to the perfect spacing of the trees. My only decision was where to join the road that would take me to the footbridge to cross the River Findhorn. I could attempt to get onto it through Wellside Farm, but I was unsure about this, so I extended the distance a bit and left the woods on the road from the carpark at Wellhill where in fact someone had pitched there tent behind their car.
From the carpark I had a few miles on quiet roads, in fact I passed no cars, to Broom of Moy where a lovely footbridge took me over the River Findhorn. On the other side after a very short path section I joined quiet roads for another couple of miles until joining the Moray Coast Path, I presume this meant I had entered the region of Moray but more importantly I think this is my first coast path since Ayrshire.
The first stage of this route actually followed a road on a pavement passing through Kinloss before turning left and down towards Findhorn. I reached the Findhorn Foundation which was set up some 50 years ago, almost by accident, a sort of spiritually orientated community based vaguely around nature. I decided to pop in the café as I was intrigued, I must confess I had assumed it would be a full-on hippy commune but though there were some aspects of this it was a much bigger place both in scale and its worldwide reach. Somehow, they have been registered an official charity but more bizarrely and maybe due to their ecological/enviornemntel work the UN has recognised it as an NGO. It did intrigue me, though the cynical side of me says once something like this becomes about money (they now charge a lot for workshops) it changes but from what I was reading a lot of there core principles seem very sensible and big business and standard people come here to learn from their workshops.
After passing through Findhorn I joined a beach which was 6 miles long, due to its length I experienced most types of weather along it from sunny, overcast, rainy and to windy. I actually split the beach vaguely in 3 to stop it getting boring, the first 2 miles I directly followed the sandy beach, then as it was starting to rain heavier I joined the Moray Coast Trail which was just of the beach and under the slight tree cover, and then I dropped back down to the beach for the final 2 miles to Burghead.
There was a good kitesurfer just shy of Burghead, as well as a hunting Kestrel hovering over head. Progress had been good today and Burghead was where I had expected to finish, though as it was fairly early I decided to carry on after having stocked up in the shop first. The Moray Coast Trail as it had been the whole way so far was very clear and in fact for the next section to Hopeman was tarmacked the whole way.
I decided I would pitch my tent at the first decent spot after Hopeman that I thought was far enough away that dog walkers would not reach it (in essence about a mile beyond the village.) After a couple of coves, the path climbed up onto the cliffs and passed a golf course and then there was a rare bit of flat ground very sandy but with grass. It was pretty much right on the path, but I felt very few if any people would pass so I pitched here. Being sandy I have literally pressed the pegs right into the ground and he spot feels well sheltered so it should be alright.
I have gone much further than I expected over the last two days, so I have a much shorter day tomorrow. Today was another flat and fairly straightforward day.