Inverness to Berwick upon Tweed - 360 miles approx.

Leaving Inverness the southern shore of the Moray Firth is followed. A quite boring collection of industrial estates, large roundabouts and signposts pointing to at least three different ways to get to Aberdeen finally gives way to open countryside on one side and open sea on the other. 

The open sea is really reached past the dark granite town of Nairn, by which time all signs point to Lossiemouth. However before then there is Findhorn. 

The approach to Findhorn.

After the austere granite frontages of Nairn, before the same in Elgin, before the giltz and tacky promenades of Lossiemouth, Findhorn is quiet, serene, beautiful in it's own small way.

The estuarial marshes of the Findhorn estuary are a haven for wildlife and preserved as such. To the east of that estuary the coast continues as a wide sweep of golden sand bordered by peaceful sand dunes. A nice preserved main street by the harbour, tea with walkers scottish shortbread in the cafe's, a deserted car park, miles of sandy beach and very few people. Yes please.

 

 

the broad sweeping sandy beach of Findhorn.

Even I managed a nights sleep in Lossie.

A little further on is Hopeman, nearby the school of Gordounstone, dubbed by it's most famous pupil, Prince Charles, as "Colditz in kilts". Then Lossiemouth.

"Lossie" as it's  aafectionately known, has a noisy neighbour, an RAF station with lots of loud fast jets arriving and departing, not a good place to get a nights sleeep but I managed. A series of Promenades line the beach, lots of slightly less noisy bars, attractive but brash.

Portknockie harbour

A few miles further on and the small town of Cullen is reached. Cullen is famous for two things, the victorian railway arches that spectacularly carry the railway over two viaducts, and the local speciality soup made from smoked haddock and a cream and vegetable broth, Cullen skink.

No coincidence that Mrs Baxter started off in business just down the road and today a tin of Cullen skink is a permanet feature in Albert's Kitchen, much beloved by the gourmet granny.

Just before Cullen there is the tiny harbour of Portknockie, a monument to fisherman everywhere and a tranquil, delightful little cove.

Cove and beach at Portknockie

The road to Macduff, Fraserburgh in the far distance.

Continuing from Cullen the lovely little town of Macduff is reached before the less lovely and bigger town of Fraserburgh, where the coast ceases going east and heads South towards Aberdeen.

Fraserburgh is nice but a town, Peterhead is nice but a town, Aberdeen is nice but a big town as well as an oil capital.  In between there really is not a lot to see.

A pleasant overnight stop at Cruden bay, between Peterhead and Aberdeen.

Between Peterhead and Aberdeen there is the delightful little harbour of Cruden Bay, a welcome overnight stop for Albert and I, but really all the from then on to Dundee and the the Tay Bridge is pleasant, nice, relatively urbanised and not vert interesting. 

At Cruden bay the harbour authorities allow overnight parking by motorhomes in return for a donation towards a harbour restoration fund, to be paid into an honesty box. A lovely touch.

The ancient remains of the old Cathedral at St Andrews, taken by an ancient remnant in mortal danger of being run over.

South of the Tay the main road makes it's way directly to the Firth of Forth and Edinburgh, an almost continuous ribbon of industry and commerce. It is possible to avoid it by hugging the coast, first through the delightfully ancient city and seat of learning of St Andrews, past the seat of golf of the same name, past the world famous course at Carnoustie before heading inland to Kircaldy, industry, urbanisation and Edinburgh. 

I chose to go that way!

 

 

Just bfore Kircaldy there is the small and pleasant town of on the Northern edge of the firth of Forth, a key harbour and entrance to the Firth. Still in place is a Brazier, a torch to be lit before the days of Electricity to guide mariners through the treacherous currents of the Firth.

Crail, and the entrance to the Firth of Forth

A few miles after Crail then it's just best to join the major road systems, get through Dundee, of the Tay and he Forth into Edinburgh.

Edinburgh is lovely, worth a page in it's own right, but it is a beautiful history-steeped City, it's only real bit of coast is marine parade, which was covered in mist when we arrived, and best to just keep to the coast road and head for England along the appropriately called Golf Coast.

 

Past the small and attractive town of Dunbar and there are fewer golf courses, the coast gets more rugged and the scenery less monotonous.

"shhhhhhhh....

Nesting birds ... please be quiet"

Shortly before Eyemouth and a few more miles to the English border and a narrow road cuts off left to the nature reserve of St Abbs Head.

Respecting the farmers over whose land the road continues I used the car park before the farm gates. So should everyone else who is able-bodied. It is about 30 minutes walk to the small sanctuary building, 30 minutes of being at peace, 30 miinutes of quiet, 30 minutes of only nature disturbing the air around. It is a most magical walk.

This is a place where even that most shy of wild creatures, the Muntjac deer, would stop and say hello if you can be trusted to respect the peace and tranquility.

It is well worth the walk. A most magical place. THe scenery may not be the finest, the ambience, the peace is. A fitting farewell to Scotland.

St Abbs head

A few more miles and the lovely English city of Berwick upon Tweed is reached. End of a chapter and a start of one.

 

Farwell Scotland, Hello England.

 

Onward Sir Albert!

Next section:North East England