Sunday 7th October 2018.
6.9 miles today. 1145.44 miles total.
This was one of the shortest and easiest days so far and I enjoyed it.
This morning I woke to blustery winds of 45 mph and above, and rain. It looked quite cold outside too. The weather forecast predicted gusts up to 50 mph, so my decision to walk on the road rather than on the coast path and cliff edges was never in question.
Suitably wrapped up I walked down the hill to the bus stop, and by the time I arrived in Berriedale, back at the bus stop where I finished yesterday, the rain was easing off.
Berriedale is mostly invisible behind the trees. It lies at the bottom of a cove with steep road access back to the cliff tops in each direction, and I set off up the hill.
On the way I passed a small redundant church which was, sadly, locked. It had information boards outside relating to the church design and also celebrating Thomas Telford.
I then had a lovely breezy walk back towards Dunbeath and with my lighter pack, found myself walking much faster.
The weather to the south looked as it was brightening, but the cloud cover remained over me.
Over the last three days the occasional driver has tooted and waved or shown ‘thumbs up’ in support of my walk. It must be common to see walkers here as it’s a bottleneck for John O’Groats. Local animals were less impressed.
I spent quite some time smiling at the contrast between the actual weather and the words of the harvest hymn being sung in Dunbeath Church of Scotland service this morning, “The breezes and the sunshine, and soft refreshing rain”. It all sounded much gentler than today where even a cow was searching for shelter..
Faster walking meant I arrived back in Dunbeath before lunch, and was able to see another low-lying harbour.
I stopped in the Bay Owl for a drink before the final 100 yards of hill. While there two women stopped for a chat and gave me their contact details in Wick. I should get to Wick on Wednesday. Their details are now safely in my hat pocket.
I’ve spent an hour since then snoozing and am now checking the bus timetables for next week. I’m staying in the same place and using the bus stops as my start and finish point each day until I reach Keiss. The road signs are charting my progress.