The excellent weather of yesterday couldn’t last and I spent most of today in drizzle, not that it mattered much as I was looking below at the cliffs and all the birdlife.
Yesterday’s bus driver welcomed me aboard for the short trip back to Berriedale,I was the only one alighting. I avoided the temptation of the cafe and made my way down to the harbour, I don’t think many boats tie up here. A bouncy suspension bridge crosses over to a row of cottages above the rocky bay. Proper ornithologists have their telescopes trained on the conveniently placed cliffs, I spot kittiwakes through my pocket binoculars but fulmars are also pointed out to me. The waves are crashing into the shingle beach.
A green path heads up towards a small cemetery but there I become lost in earthworks for another straightening of the A9, as if it is not fast enough already. My frustration is tempered with good views back down to the harbour. A bit of bashing through gorse soon has me back on track but on the wrong side of a fence which can create a problem.
Once on the clifftop I kept mostly outside of fences and walls – this was proper cliff walking – right on the edge. A good head for heights is useful in some places and I wouldn’t like to be here in a gale.
The Bluebells are late flowering up here and they give a colourful show with Pink Campions and Greater Stitchwort
In rough land there was someone’s private bird hide, I imagined the owners bragging at a cocktail party “oh we have our own private hide – don’t you?” It did have a fantastic view though. A little further just entering some trees was a box containing a signing-in book for the trail, only about 25 had done so this year.
Through a high cliff the Allt na Buaidhe stream tumbles in a spectacular waterfall, it was a bit short of water today.
I worked my way round to the valley of the stream where there was a new footbridge to cross. Strangely a path had been strimmed to the very edge of the falls, a every dangerous spot, Samaritans help number needed, but good views back to that small sea arch. You would have to lie on your stomach to look over at the waterfall – I didn’t.
The going became difficult in long rough grass with only faint sheep trods to follow. However a group of sheep startled by me proceeded ahead creating a path as they went – a good idea for helping open up the trail.
The gates to Dunbeath Castle are not overly friendly to walkers, a lot of these estates have been bought by rich foreigners who would like to keep the likes of us off the land. I didn’t get the feeling that there was much opposition to this denial of the right to walk wherever as allowed by Scottish law. Maybe time for a mass tresspass.
That felt like a long short day.
Accommodation – Inver Park House B & B