18th February 2011
Not a great Friday walk this week. Don't get me wrong it still beats the hell out of working, but I need to keep reminding myself that it's only February and I'm only a few weeks into this experiment. It was disappointing for a couple of reasons; firstly I needed to go into work for the morning, (a boring meeting in Dyce at 10 o'clock); secondly the weather was absolutely awful with a very strong cold south easterly wind. With John in London and Craig working, we were press ganged into walking the dogs, so after the meeting in Dyce I met up with mo and we headed off to Cruden Bay. Craig had suggested that, rather than the usual walk around Slains Castle, we try somewhere different with them and suggested the beach at St Fergus. Now I must confess that when I hear the name St Fegus it's the huge gas terminal that comes to mind and I had no idea that there was a beach! However there is, so we packed up the dogs and set off, pleased at least that it would be a different walk if nothing else. (If you want to know more about St Fergus and what happens there then you can get it here ).
The carpark at Scotston Beach, (the road sign is for Scotstown Beach, but the O&S map says Scotston, so take your pick), is about a mile from the junction along a single track road. It was quite busy with about half a dozen cars already there. While we were getting our gear on, (full waterproofs of course although it was actually dry just very windy and very cold), a woman stopped to chat and suggested that we headed south on the beach, that way we would be walking into the wind at the start of our walk but at our backs on the way home. We ignored this of course and headed north along the beach towards the gas terminal.
We had no particular plan for the day but I had hoped to walk as far along the beach as possible, maybe even as far as the lighthouse at Rattray Head, but it was never going to happen. With the wind coming in over our right shoulder and helping a little it was still uncomfortable walking and although the wind meant that the sea was spectacular to look at we were not having any fun!
In the end the decision to turn back was taken for us when we arrived at the Blackwater River mouth and it was obvious we were not going to be able to ford it. The tide was well in and with no apparent way across we decided that we'd go up into the dunes and see if we could find a way back that had some shelter from the wind.
We were lucky in that there was a well trodden path on the far side on the dunes and, although it didn't shelter us completely, it did feel a little more comfortable to walk in. It's another fantastic dune system similar, if not as extensive as the Mennie Estate further south. We'll just need to hope that we can keep it secret from any American billionaire a******s who might want to do us natives a favour and dig it all up to build a golf course we don't need. Still maybe the view of the gas terminal might be too off-putting for his guest's sensibilities!
Anyway not much else to say. By now it was beginning to rain and by the time we got back to the car only the dogs seemed reluctant to call it a day. The weather forecast for Saturday is really bad and brightening up to miserable on Sunday so this will probably be the only post this weekend. Still it's only February!!