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Findhorn to Burghead (and back) - Moray Coast Trail

Findhorn to Burghead (and back) - Moray Coast Trail


Postby gld73 » Sat Dec 26, 2020 7:49 pm

Route description: Forres to Burghead

Date walked: 17/12/2020

Time taken: 5.8 hours

Distance: 29 km

Ascent: 80m

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Parked in Findhorn and started the walk from there rather than doing the initial part of the route from Forres. Nice sunny day, didn't feel like December other than the short hours of daylight. I didn't know what the tide times were, but I'd hoped to do the Moral Coast Trail route from Findhorn to Burghead, then walk back along the beach as the return route. Managed this to some extent, though not entirely.

Between the 2 villages, the route is a nice mix of sand dunes and forest trails. I lost the official route in the sand dune area, thought I was more or less right, but there are so many unofficial worn paths around I failed to stay on the "proper" one and ended up in a bit with no way through the gorse. I gave up trying to find the right path again there and just headed along the beach a bit instead until the Trail came close to the beach, alongside the fence of the Kinloss Barracks, where I went up and joined it again. It was all clear and easy to follow again after that. It veers away from the sea and goes through nice woods, but the soil is so sandy that even after all the heavy rain recently, no section of the route was muddy at all. I had a stop off at the bird hide just before Roseisle car park which is well stocked and well looked after, a number of birds and a red squirrel enjoying the food on offer.

I thought I'd be turning round pretty much as soon as I got to Burghead, but it was a nice little village and I ended up spending 45 mins there. I passed through to the east side of the village where the next leg starts round to Lossiemouth - not continuing there today, but handy to see where to park when I come back for Day 2. Got my sandwiches and flask of coffee out at a picnic table and enjoyed lunch in the sunshine, then went to the headland to the old pictish fort and visitor centre viewpoint before heading back round by the little harbour and the back through the caravan site to start the walk back to Findhorn.

I managed quite a bit of it along the beach, though on a narrow strip by the old WW2 remnants of concrete block tank traps and derelict pill boxes as the tide was in. Eventually I had to head up to the slightly higher ground and follow a path through trees above the beach and then through the sand dunes before getting back down on the beach for the final stretch to Findhorn.

An enjoyable walk and I headed back for the next section, Burghead to Lossiemouth, a few days later.

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Starting the walk from Findhorn (looking south, the way I would have come if I'd started inland at Forres)

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Clear signage on most of the walk (but I still managed to lose the path later)

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I could have walked a lot of the way along the beach, but I decided to try and leave that for the return route, depending on the tide.

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The Moray Coast Trail heads slightly inland, and it was shortly after this bit that I must have wandered on to one of the many informal paths and lost the 'official' route

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Having escaped from a gorse dead end, I decided just to head over the sand dunes towards the sea rather than try the path again

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...so I walked along the beach for a little bit

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...before heading back up to join the waymarked path which runs just above the beach and alongside the Kinloss Barracks fence (no longer a RAF base)

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After the path heads through woods for a bit, the bird hide near Roseisle is reached, nice place to stop for a break

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View from the bird hide window

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Even after days of rain, no muddy sections through the woodland sections of the trail

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Arriving at Burghead

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Burghead visitor centre viewpoint

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View across to Caithness. I think that's Morven in the centre of the shot?

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Viewpoint map

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The pictish fort site and Burghead

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Burghead harbour

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Memorial for the Shetland Bus (I didn't realise they did a handful of operations out of Burghead, not just Shetland)

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For my return route, I tried to stick to the beach as much as possible. Still a lot of anti-tank blocks and a couple of pill boxes on the shore (this view looking back east to Burghead)
Attachments
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Getting back to Findhorn just before dusk
APDC7854.JPG
The sandy ground next to the shore is easily eroded, though very clear to see the different layers in places
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gld73
 
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Re: Findhorn to Burghead (and back) - Moray Coast Trail

Postby Gordie12 » Sat Dec 26, 2020 8:50 pm

Hi

Enjoyed this.

I'm just waiting for the Lossie east beach bridge to be replaced so I can do the complete walk. Been looking forward to it for ages now.
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Gordie12
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Re: Findhorn to Burghead (and back) - Moray Coast Trail

Postby gld73 » Sun Dec 27, 2020 1:58 pm

Yes, I'd originally thought about doing this as a complete walk in summer, but with the bridge closed, I decided I could still do the complete route of the walk on separate days as winter day trips in December (easy enough travelling distance from Inverness each day). I got the western half done just before Christmas, but unfortunately the eastern half will have to wait as lockdown rules mean I'm not allowed over the Highland/Moray border!

When travel restrictions are lifted, if anyone is wanting to do it as a whole walk before the bridge to East Beach is fixed (which will be another year or two I suspect), there is a diversion route for the Moray Coast trail marked on a map at the end of the bridge:
APDC7876.JPG
Better version might be available online somewhere, but this is a photo of the map showing the detour route to avoid the closed bridge
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Re: Findhorn to Burghead (and back) - Moray Coast Trail

Postby Gordie12 » Sun Dec 27, 2020 4:33 pm

Thanks for that.

I will be doing the walk east to west so it looks like I go a mile or two past Bear's Head rock then head inland on a track that takes me to the north of a disused airfield and links up with the B9103 which I would then follow in to Lossie.

It's a couple of extra miles but I'm looking to try and do the walk in a day so those extra two miles are significant, The most I've walked in a day is 32 miles but for some strange reason I've always fancied taking this on as it's so flat.
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