Scottish Coast • Day 17 • Lunan Bay to St Cyrus Nature Reserve

Lunan Bay to St Cyrus Nature Reserve
Sunday 19 June 2022

29.85km • 8h (including breaks)
lowest: -2m • highest: 89m • total ascent 466m

See the route on OS Maps

I slept quite a lot. Like 10-11 hours a lot. I’m incapable of sleeping that long at home. It was very quiet when I got up at 8am, despite all the kids around. I ate random stuff for breakfast, got a tea from the shop to drink while I took down my tent, and headed off around 10 with shouts of good luck from the people I’d chatted to the night before.

It was a big road walk up a hill right from the start to get to the lime kilns at Boddin. I said hello to a dog standing in someone’s yard and waved to the person in the window. I had a little break near the kilns for a snack, then headed off to the path around the fields. The clouds were quite moody. I ran into some ladies from Aberdeen, a woman and her mother I think. They asked me about what I was doing and told me to come for a cup of tea in Aberdeen if I could remember the address. I do not remember the address. In the future, when these things happen I should probably write down details. I didn’t make it to Aberdeen this time anyway though, so, irrelevant all around. But I like when people invite me for tea.

I walked past the elephant rock, which does indeed look like an elephant from both sides, and people were out there climbing it! It was also clear enough to see some ships and/or oil platforms. Whatever was out there. After going around some fields and having a false start at a path from a beach, I started through yet another field but couldn’t see how to get through various fences and things, so I ended up backtracking, because I really didn’t want any surprise cows. I had to backtrack again on the path out to the Scurdie Ness lighthouse because I didn’t read the map properly. I was quite cranky about it, but mostly because I was tired. I charged on anyway. When I rounded the corner at the lighthouse the wind and rain hit full force but I sat and ate some snacks while I got blasted, because snacks make everything more managable.

I made it to Ferryden and there was a guy sitting outside a cafe with his dog who called out to me that I’d done a fair bit of walking. He was the one in the window I’d waved to a few hours before! I said hello to his dog again.

In Montrose, I went into a lovely place called Rae’s on the high street for lunch and had the best pork belly sandwich I’d had in ages. And TWO coffees. With little bits of fudge! This did make me feel a bit better. It also gave me an excuse to sit and charge up my phone for a bit longer. I have backup power but I like to reserve it as long as possible. Recording routes on OS maps absolutely devours the battery. Eventually I’ll have a GPS watch or something so I don’t have to do that, but for now, it’s at least a nice excuse to sit a bit longer.

The cafe refilled my water (big extra points!) and then I went to the Co-Op for some dinner and breakfast bits before heading back out to the beach and towards St Cyrus. I SHOULD have gone into Boots and bought some compeed for my developing blisters. Why I did not do this, I can’t tell you. Madness.

I liked the massive dunes running along the beach in Montrose. They shield you from having to look at the golf course, but they’re also quite otherworldly. Like being on an episode of Star Trek. I decided not to take my shoes off and walk in the water because I had quite a long way to go to St Cyrus, so I’d save the foot spa for the end. I had to come off the beach to walk through Kinnaber Woods in order to get round the river. There were a lot of trees down and semi-down on some of the paths, and I’m not sure I was meant to be walking through some bits, but at this point I was far too tired to be going even further around, so my mini risk assessment told me it would be fine.

Once I crossed the bridge over the Esk, there was about a mile of road walk to the parking area at St Cyrus Nature Reserve where there are incredibly nice public toilets, a pre-camp bonus! I headed out to the beach and walked most of the way up to the other end. There were a few people about, but it was a Sunday evening, and Fathers’ Day actually, so I was fairly certain that I’d have the place to myself for the night. And aside from dog walkers, I did.

I found a flat spot to hide between the dunes. Then I popped up to take a picture of home for the night and saw a load of dolphins swimming by just offshore, so I stood and watched them for a while. The sea life have been looking out for me on this trip.

After another 30k day when I felt like I was hitting walls all day long, I was really happy to be in such a calm, quiet spot. My feet were pretty destroyed, and I had stuck them in the water for a bit, but I really should have had some blister care available to avoid the disaster the next day felt like.

I went out to sit on the beach and cook my dinner. The last time I was here was with Chris, Holly and Migle a few years ago. While Chris was BBQing for us on the beach, a massive storm rolled in and we all ended up hiding in our respective tents eating dinner on our own. Equal parts exciting and disappointing. A very different story this time, as the weather was now clearing and I was able to sit out and stare at the sea as long as I wanted. I was in bed before dark.

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