Day 261: Cullen to Banff
Distance: 15.81 miles
Ascent: 2192 feet
Weather: Windy, Rainy & SUnny Spells
Accommodation: Pitched At Duff House Royal Golf CLub (kindly offered)
Dad dropped me back at Cullen just before 9am, and I set off knowing that Storm Ali was going to start battering me but not sure exactly when. The rough plan was for me to walk the 12 miles or so to Whitehills where I would meet Dad for a bit of lunch and then walk the final couple of miles together before Dad headed back down South and to France.
As I set off the weather was not too bad, the breeze not too strong and it was dry at that moment. The path out of Cullen along the base of the cliffs was really nice and actually kept me sheltered. After Sunnyside Beach the path headed up to the cliff tops. Fortunately the path was not too close to the edge of the cliff so there was no issue with the wind as I descended down towards Sandend.
It had started raining by this time and the wind was getting up but so far not as strong as forecast. The sandy beach at Sandend was lovely but I had to cover my eyes when there were gusts to stop getting sand in my eyes. At the end of the beach the path was very clear and climbed up onto the low cliffs, I was surprised as up here the path looked like it had actually been mowed and again fortunately though near the cliff it was not to close to be unsafe. As I was rounding this section to Portsoy the wind increased a bit more, enough to knock me about a bit but probably not even half what was forecast but even more bizarre the sun came out.
I considered grabbing a snack in Portsoy but decided to push on and keep up a good pace in case the conditions deteriorated rapidly later. From Portsoy I firstly took a single track road up to a slightly more major road. I had proposed to cut down after a mile onto where I though there was a clifftop path, but due to the wind I decided to stick to the roads/farm tracks into Whitehill.
Dad had walked the couple of miles from Banff to Whitehills and actually carried on this side after a break so I bumped into him on a track about a kilometer before Whitehills. I was starving and luckily he had picked up a pie at a bakery which went down very well. We walked into Whitehills where we stopped in the café (Dad had actually been in here before meeting me and fallen asleep so they knew him well.) After a tea we were on our way again quickly as the sun was still out.
During this final section the wind was quite strong (again gust of maybe 40mph but nothing like the 70/80mph forecast) and enough to knock us around a bit. This path was tarmacked the whole way and we soon reached Banff where Dad was parked.
I left him to have a little sleep in the car, and headed to the Duff House Royal Golf Club on the edge of Banff where they had very kindly offered to allow me to pitch in a sheltered spot. The greensman showed me a great spot which was very well sheltered behind the building. Dad turned up and I pitched my tent and then a member (apologies I have forgotten your name) kindly got Dad & I a drink in the clubhouse. Dad left to catch the train (which unfortunately ended up being cancelled) and the club kindly let me have a shower and do my admin in the clubhouse.
A strange day as I was expecting a full on storm and in the end it felt like we ended up missing the worst. Good to have Dad on the walk for the last couple of days, and I will fall asleep very early as I am very tired.