Day 45 – Berriedale to Lybster

Friday 8th November – on my own

17.49 miles … 2,740’ ascent … 2,897 calories … 38, 882 steps … 7 hours 22 minutes

Stacks, more castles and cold, wet feet…

Aah, fabulous, if rare, path and steps!

We woke up in Bablu to another very icy day. Thankfully the rain had stopped, but after our usual breakfast of cereal and hot coffee, it was wet and slippery under foot.

Quite a feat of engineering going on here

Fiona walked the first half hour with me, negotiating major road alterations to get onto the footpath proper. I say ‘proper’, at least navigation was pretty straightforward today. There was no walking on beaches, but the walk hugged the headlands of the coastline. My phone cum camera was low in charge this morning, so I’m afraid there are no photos of a couple of dramatic stacks and a spectacular waterfall or Dunbeath Castle.

I was meant to go around it, but negotiated a couple of barbed wire fences, and ended up going up the magnificent driveway of this private residence, which has been inhabited since about 1500, it certainly looks dramatic from out at sea, prominent along the coast.

John and Judy – what a God-incidence!

I met up with Fiona for coffee at Dunbeath, a lovely lady called Judy noticed the camper van and had been asked by her sister in law (who chatted to Fiona at the church she went to in Moffat with Oriel) to look out for us… she was sitting in Bablu with Fiona, having a coffee when I arrived. Fiona enjoyed chatting to her and praying together.

Great Geography lesson here

I carried on from Dunbeath Bay with my phone now adequately charged for taking photos of this magnificent coastline, for you to share; splendid stacks, a ruined castle and steep cliffs. I made steady progress, although it is more like 3km/hour on varied footpaths. Very wet vegetation and quite uneven. I discovered a box en route for walkers to record that they had been along the path, I noticed it was only signed by one person in October and nobody in November until now! It is not a path that is trodden by many.

The incredible power of the sea

I reached Latheronwheel for a cup of soup with Fiona by the harbour (she’s keeping a close eye on me, after me not turning up till 6.30pm last night). I left by 1.30pm for the final stretch to Lybster.

I took a few more pictures of stacks and a derelict castle. I am increasingly aware of many wind turbines out in the North Sea, as well as oil platforms. I spotted several individual hinds (red deer), skipping around on the headlands, precariously leaping along dramatically steep cliffs. I won’t apologise for saying I held on firmly to the pig wire fence, while negotiating the cliff path. Mind you I haven’t got a very good head for heights.

Lybster harbour, one of Scotlands main herring fishing villages in the mid-1800’s
Fascinating history of the herring boom.
Widest High Street you’ve ever seen and the only two convenience stores are next to each other?

I was pleased to reach Lybster Bay in daylight, soon after 4pm and an earlier supper in Bablu. Lybster High Street must be the widest street in the country, although not the busiest, but we did find a pub to write todays Blog in…. Every day is an adventure, the end is in sight! We are up to £23,580 now – hopefully we will get that 5th rescue covered.

(I feel quite challenged by Lybster. It must be easy to give up hope, when many houses are for sale, shops and churches boarded up, fishing industry is on such a huge scale that little harbours and boats are not used so much. I’m sure there must be some wonderful people keeping this community going, despite what it looks like. It reminds me that God never gives up on me, whatever my life looks like – Ed)

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