SUNDAY 28 MARCH, 2010
HELMSDALE TO DUNBEATH – 17 MILES, 9 HOURS
MORRIS, GEORGE, BILL, ALEX, KEITH AND DEREK
TOTAL DISTANCE WALKED SO FAR 584 MILES
Two full days walking were intended on this trip and when planning our route it appeared this could be the most challenging leg so far. Keith and Derek were joining us for their first coast walk. We travelled north the day before to our accommodation at the Bayview Hotel in Lybster and the following morning drove back to Helmsdale. We set off walking in wet and windy conditions following the coast road from the harbour, which soon became a grass track, onto the beach passed Navidale farm. A short distance further on a large gorse covered gulley forced us inland all the way to the A9 road. By crossing the road we were able to access an underpass back to the coast side and onto a dirt track which we followed to another huge steep sided gulley on the west side of the Ord of Caithness. We crossed this gulley and burn and followed sheep tracks up the hillside to the top of the ‘Ord’. From here we made our way east to another large steep sided gulley which runs almost 1.5miles to the sea at Ceann Ousdale. We crossed this gulley and burn about 200yds inland and made our way up the hillside using sheep tracks where possible to find our way to Badbea. After a welcome tea break at the monument we continued north east to Inver Hill where moving nearer the sea we found a vehicle track which we followed passed the two towers (Duke’s candlesticks) crossing the pedestrian bridge over the river into Berriedale. Our route out of Berriedale took us uphill through the graveyard and across fields back towards the sea where we met and spoke to local resident Angela who was braving the wet conditions to walk her dogs. We walked on along the cliff tops passed the amazing scenery at Rockhead and onto the beautiful Dunbeath Castle. Walking across the front of the castle we found locked gates preventing our access onto the beach and we made our way into Dunbeath along the tops of the grass dunes and over the pedestrian bridge. We walked up the hill to the ‘Bay Owl’ for a much needed ‘refreshment’ where we were made welcome by mine host Trevor.
Summary; This was the toughest day so far with many different physical challenges from gulleys , burns ,rivers, hill climbs, dykes and fences not to mention the weather and sometimes very soft underfoot conditions.
Highs; Beautiful scenery, lovely villages and great satisfaction on completing a very hard day (not to mention the end of walk ‘pint’).
Lows; The weather in the morning and the numerous fences and dykes we had to cross.
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