9.57 miles and over 20,000 steps. Hurrah. My mojo is back.
And with it a desire to walk by the sea. Ok, so it’s not a great distance when you consider the distances I have walked. 24 miles in a day taking in the Dava Way is still my “proud moment”. But since returning from the desert the desire to walk has been a little lacking. But that’s ok isn’t it? I am just not driven to walk alone, not even with a dog in tow. I get no enjoyment from walking for walking’s sake. I need a purpose. And currently my “purpose” is a work in progress.
While I have my sights on a distance trail next year, it’s not in the diary yet and so in my head (and my feet) it’s not committed. But I know in my heart I have lost fitness, got a bit lazy. I know it will come back, but I want to feel it. Get out of my bed on a walk day and be looking forward to it. So today was me trying to find the feeling again.
The route is one we have done before. Hopeman to “Roseisle or as far as we feel” and back. See I am not great with retracing steps. Or any repeat walks for that matter. But I was already in the area anyway with work, I needed to walk and Susan was free too. And a Brucey Bonus (only those of a certain age will remember that) the sun was shining. Indeed not a cloud in the sky as we left Hopeman. And we had a good pace too.
Hopeman itself is a lovely village with its own harbour. Overlooking the harbour is the wee Footprints Gallery, a little treasure trove of tasteful gifts. More of that later, because we are now on the familiar path which sets off around West Beach Caravan Park. Whenever I walk through this park I have an overwhelming desire to have a holiday here. I have no idea why as I am not a fan of “pack them in” holiday resorts of any kind. Yet the rows of static homes, each with their own sun deck looking out to sea – they beckon me. Or perhaps it’s the cute Shepherd’s huts. Or the variety of tourers. The park is undergoing an extension now with pitches heading right down by the rocks. Out of sight of those statics with prime position, but they too will have an amazing view. Perhaps it’s an envy of waking or sipping a gin and tonic to that view. No – stop it – not waking AND sipping G&T. Different activities, opposite ends of the day.
Ok where was I? Focus! Oh yes, the path…heads for Burghead. It’s a man made track which feels a little monotonous. A tar path which is great for those heading out for a casual stroll in their pumps. Rather like road walking it’s heavy on the joints though. Though for the first time (and we have travelled this particular length many times in training) we spotted a track which heads down closer to the rocks. Vowing to pick that up coming back we carry on.
Chatting away we glance up and who’s this? A mirage. It’s a trekker! No really, it’s Pauline. Honestly we didn’t plan this. Pauline lives in Burghead and has brought her cousin all the way from Seattle for a wee stroll. No, she has not actually brought her from Seattle to walk. Her cousin is over from Seattle and Pauline has brought for a….oh never mind :D. Anyway there they both are in their summer shorts and T shirts out for a leisurely stroll (told you this was a good path) and we rock up looking like we are still on the trek! Boots, rucksacks, water bottle, poles. I even discovered Susan still has wet wipes and Compeed. Old habits die hard. What Pauline’s cousin must have made of this strange pair we will never know, as she smiled politely for the photos, shook our hands and continued on. No – not alone! With Pauline (raises eyes)
At Burghead we opt to walk around the headland. It’s more steps (oops sorry, we don’t need to do that now) and a far prettier scene and then we thread up the path around the Coastguard lookout (now a museum), over the hill, down through the houses to the harbour and then by Burghead Beach caravan park onto the beach. Sand! You can see all the way to Findhorn now and right across to the Black Isle which is really clear today. A couple of kite surfers giving the merest hint the sea breeze could be on the increase.
Now this section of beach has also been walked – a lot! But for the first time I notice the jellyfish. Big ones and small ones. I am no marine biologist. That’s as technical as it gets – if I ever do that walk again I promise to take photos of them all and catalogue them for you. Yes, seriously!
For a wee while we walk in relative silence. For a busy strollers and dog walkers beach it really is remarkably peaceful. The sound of the waves gently tumbling in provides the background music. Meanwhile if you listen carefully to can also hear the wind as it blows past your ears! A dog barks – only once. Or perhaps I am so absorbed with the sound of the sea I blot out any man made sounds. Or dog made sounds to be more accurate. You realise you have drifted a little into the pebbly area only by the sound of a gravelly crunch under foot.
Everyone seems in good spirits today as they cheerfully pass with a “morning” or “hello”. A group of horses go trotting by at the edge of the sea. Not alone you understand. With riders. Those kite surfers are exploring more areas too as they are now back up towards Burghead – or perhaps the wind has shifted them. A piece of driftwood has become a makeshift piece of art, set with piles of carefully balanced pebbles. I add my own to the sculpture wondering how long it will stay. How often does the tide reach this high. Was it made this morning and gone in a day? Susan and I share a love of the sea. We could both live alongside its healing personality. No need for an appointment. Just drop in when we need a spoonful of its medicine.
At some point in time we turned around to retrace our steps, only to discover a dark moody backdrop. Rain threatens. And yes we did get a shower, though we women of a certain age found it a refreshing cooler so the waterproof stayed packed and the hair just got wetter and wavier. Actually could we maybe skip over that bit and on to the last bit of the day? We did pick up the lower path after Burghead for a wee while only to lose it and return to the long, long tar track. Back at Hopeman and the caravans in the park are now buzzing with families who have returned to base (their days curtailed by the rain perhaps).
We meanwhile popped into Footprints Gallery to grab a coffee (tea for me). Having had a good look round and the odd purchase, and played the usual “where’s that accent from” game.
“It’s not ‘Yourkshire’ though I did work for 10 years in ‘Yourkshire'”. It gets them every time. I am in fact from Manchester then Lancashire and latterly Cheshire. But I really did work in Yorkshire and can only think their accent was my biggest influence.
I confess I didn’t even know Footprints was there until today. But sitting on the bench outside. sipping my tea, eating my piece of Walkers fruit cake, watching cars arrive, park, look at the harbour I am reminded of the many, many, many times I have sought a harbour on a car journey with Mr Smith. Photographed many too. Not this time. For now I was happy to hear the clink clink rather than the click click. And reflect on a lovely day. My cheeks a bit rosy too.
Ok, focus! What’s the scores on the doors Mrs L? She declares over 9 miles. And over 18000 Susan steps (her strides are way longer than mine) and a pact to do more of this! So where shall we go next Mrs L?