After a night in jemimaville with the lovely Maggie, she raced me across to fortrose so I could beat the tide on my way to Cromarty.
The walk along the side of the moray firth was stunning – I met a whole bunch of folk who met me with a friendly smile and a bit of banter.
I met one guy who said if I didn’t beat the tide, there was a gorge that he knew of – it was a bit steep for him, but a man like myself….
I didn’t beat the tide – I got to the bottom of a cliff where the sea lapped against the rocks.
Maybe if I just….?
I did a bit of rock hopping – you know, just in case the tide was less…er…in further along the coast.
This may come as a shock, but the tide is pretty much a uniform thing – no amount of rock hopping…
There was always the gorge – a narrow tree lined cut in the cliff that led to….?
I found a long disused path through some nettles and ferns… It led to a cave.
I found another similar path – that took me along the side of a fast running and precipitous stream.
It wasn’t exactly a path…more a…
I thought of Indiana jones – what would he do? I flung myself at branches and bits of rock – pulling myself up higher and higher…
You know how cats are good at climbing trees, but they make a bit of a mess of things on the way down?
That wasn’t me, I was making an arse of the whole thing.
Finally, exhausted, I got stuck. No way up, no way down. I was holding onto a vine with one hand and I had one toe hold where I’d kicked into the mud.
I could just see myself on daytime tv, an earnest presenter doing their best not to imply I was a pillock as the helicopter winched me up.
This did not rank highly in the most intelligent things I’d ever done.
Gather yourself Christopher.
I did – and slowly I began to lower my way down – heart pounding, knees bleeding, mind racing.
I got back to the bottom – ploughed back through the nettles – panting, I dropped down onto a small mound next to the real path.
Tics! Having clattered through the undergrowth I was covered in at least 30 of the little blighters.
Apparently it takes a little time for the to fasten on – I spent the next 20 minutes plucking and pinging them off – they’re tenacious…
So, 5 hours after being dropped off, I was back where I started – covered in nettle rash, with bleeding knees and little indentations where the tics had started to nibble there way in.
About a kilometre up the path there was a lighthouse where the tourist signs said there would be frolicking dolphins…
There were English folk and some Germans – no locals and no – absolutely no – dolphins.
I think the good people of Fortrose knew better.
Sadly, I trudged back to the main village through a campsite.
I sat down on a grass bank whole I thought about what I should do next.
Fate kindly realised that I was making such a has of the day, it decided to intervene.
Out of her caravan came mrs Adam, caring a mug of tea and a bowl of sugar.
“Do you take sugar?” she smiled
“Yes – that would be great…”
I had a lovely chat with the Adams – she had worked in local government and had some appreciation that social work was a little tricky.
Her husband was a lovely relaxed Buddhist type.
The stress of the day ebbed away as they offered me a place to stay in north Devon.
Mr Adam thrust a tenner in my hand as I left – “Just in case” he grinned.
It could have been a shit day. Instead – I didn’t die and now I had somewhere to stay in a thatched cottage in one of the most scenic parts of the uk.
The romp continues.
Walk a mile