Lonely Hearts Club?
No it is alright I am not feeling lonely and maudlin … I enjoy having the freedom to be myself and do what I want when I want … but this stone caught my eye when I arrived at the beach earlier today – but which beach?
I caught the 20 this morning an then slowly made my way to Arbroath (39) and since it was a 40 minute wait for the Auchmithie bus (mysteriously renumbered from 140 to 35 at weekends) I popped over to Lidl. The fresh bakery stuff looked really good so I treated myself to a couple of croissant. Normally I don’t eat refined carbs but I was curious about how much impact the sugars would have given the level of exercise I am doing. It also meant that I could do a good part of the walk before lunch because the start was quite late by the time I reached Auchmithie.
While I waited for the bus opposite the fire station an elderly couple came down the road and having said good morning to them both the gentleman paused briefly to ponder how many Munros did I think I would manage this weekend? I laughed and said it might just be half a one! He claims he set out to do four one weekend but only managed two – and that was just a few years ago and he walked on down the road chuckling to himself.
Having arrived in Auchmithie there was the obligatory visit to the ladies and then I was good to go!
I left the village at the northern end on a track which is marked as the footpath to Ethie. It climbs up from the village and then turns right to go along the top of several fields before turning left briefly and then right again to reach some houses. Form there the choice is to head down to the Angus Coastal Route or head inland on private roads to cut across the headland to Ethie Mains. On the first part of this there were a few very muddy sections but for the most part it was perfectly passable. The track provides agricultural access so it is to be expected at this time of year the it might be churned.
On this section I met Meg (a border collie type) and her person. It was a very informative discussion about the local area which she knows well and where she brings dogs that she is dog walker to. I didn’t plan to head the cliff path today; it is not a path like the one between Arbroath and Auchmithie. Meg’s person suggested staying on the landward side of the wall and walking on the edge of the fields which the local farmer did not mind.
Shortly after that the phone rang – my Mother ringing to see that I as safe because I did not answer the house phone last night … I was so tired I was tucked up in bed by 8pm! I got a quick Pup update and promised to speak with her later on when I got home so it did not cost her a fortune in phone call to a mobile.
The private roads were quite uncomfortable walking because for the most part they were slick mud and unlike the farm tracks where the tyre treads left some texture the mud slicks were much more slippery. I eventually got back to metalled roads until I approached Ethie Mains when it returned to a mud track but at least this one had some stones put down. Along the way I had startled a flock of small birds – I didn’t hear any alarm calls but they suddenly burst out of their bushes with a rattle of wings. Based on what I could see I think they were Yellow Hammers.
As I followed the sometimes steep and twisty road down towards the bay I was intrigued to see a large camper van and a BMW Z4 at the houses … surely they did not drive them up and down that track I had just followed – a sports car would bottom out within 5 metres! Then I glimpsed a postie across a wee burn and realised there was a ford – so I was right they don’t use the track I came down. I could have paddled across the ford but didn’t need to because there was a thoughtful little footbridge too.
It was at this point I was greeted by the heart shaped stone … as I set foot in Lunan Bay!
I had originally intended to stop for lunch at this end of the Bay but there wasn’t anywhere immediately suitable so I walked along. I ended up stopping just under Red Castle. The beach was not the most interesting ever – very flat hard sand – some red and some silver with a sparse array of small pebbles and some shells. By the time I reached Red Castle my sore foot was aching. One of the advantages I have found of wearing my clogs compared to walking boots is I can ‘roll’ my foot with each step and lift my heel slightly at the end which stretches all the tiny muscles in the foot (a boot would hold my heel down and prevent this) and that really helps to reduce aching and minor cramps.
I knew I had roughly and hour 15 minutes to get from the beach to the bus stop on the A92 above Braehead of Lunan. I knew the route having walked it a few weeks ago but knowing there was significant uphill bits I was a little anxious that it was not enough time and I would have to wait an hour for the next bus … the roar of an engine and the bus 116 appeared round the corner – how easy would it have been to hail it and take the easy option BUT I did not do that! I kept walking, only stopping for a brief grunting exchange with the small girl pigs who ran away from me before – today I grunted and they came running for a chat through the fence!
I was really pleased that I made excellent time and arrived with almost 30 minutes to spare. I had thought it might be nice to find a quiet place for a wee … but there was nowhere discreetly suitable (I think I need a Shewee!) … fortunately it wasn’t an emergency. While I waited for the bus I did my leg stretches, had a snack of nuts and dried fruits and my banana and finished my Earl Grey Tea. Then I was treated to a spectacular display by a Kestrel Tercel (Male) hovering over the undergrowth across the road. He seemed totally unconcerned by my presence … in fact I started to think he was hoping I would send the images to an audition for some rising star talent show he was so persistent in coming back and flirting with the camera!
Having just missed the 39 in Arbroath I took advantage of the facilities for a comfort break and then waited for the X7; that was 10 minutes late so I ended up on the next 39 which was fine because I would have had to wait longer at the bus station if I hadn’t been delayed in the cosy comfort of a slower bus.
I am really pleased that I am not suffering lots of pain now after a long walk – just a little stiff the next morning but that soon eases on the dog walk. Barring any disasters tomorrow I only need to walk just over three miles to have achieved my goal of walking 50 miles this week … so tomorrow will be like last Sunday a lazy stroll and hopefully a snug and cosy spot to read a while or make jewellery – but before that I hope to find a Remembrance Sunday event to attend.
At the start of the week I deliberated over whether I could really afford to donate for a poppy this year; I opted for the donation whether I could afford it or not and so my poppy has covered the same mileage as me without getting lost. She is a little curled and battered and somehow it really matters to go and hear the words an see the gratitude and remembrance for our loved ones lost in the service of their country. I will let you know how we get on tomorrow …