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Hopeman to Lossiemouth: warm sunshine on the Moray coast

Hopeman to Lossiemouth: warm sunshine on the Moray coast


Postby denfinella » Wed Sep 25, 2013 1:41 pm

Route description: Hopeman to Lossiemouth

Date walked: 03/08/2013

Time taken: 2.5 hours

Distance: 9 km

Ascent: 95m

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For various reasons, walks have become few and far between this September, but it gives a chance to write some walk reports for August's antics. Back to those long, summer days...

The walk from Hopeman to Lossiemouth is far from a strenuous one - in fact, the greatest challenge is probably the logistics of how to complete this one-way walk with a single car. There aren't any direct buses between the two villages, so we drove to Elgin first before taking a bus to the start point. An Elgin City day rider pass kept the costs down.

After a short bus ride to Hopeman, we headed down to the coast from the bus stop on the B9040, pausing to look around the harbour: decidedly sleepy on a weekend morning. Sandy paths soon lead away from the houses, past a long row of colourful beach huts. We were soon having a discussion about the crazy price of some of these things - one hut down south had recently been sold for several million pounds, despite being tiny, having no running water or electricity... and only coming with a temporary lease!

Admittedly the views were fine indeed, although it would be a bleak location during a winter storm. The views improved as the path ascended gently away from the beach.

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At times the path re-descends to the shoreline, where we browsed the rockpools for signs of life. Voices from amongst the rocks told us that others were also enjoying the good weather.

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Clashach Cove is the next landmark - a beautiful, deep inlet with a cave on the eastern side and an impressive arch on the western edge which you can walk over, giving access to more views. It's a bit unsettling when you can feel the ground shake beneath you each time a wave passes underneath the arch.

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We'd recommend turning left at the fork for some of the best views of the cove (also the way to the arch), and if we'd had time the cave at the foot of the cliffs also looked worth exploring. But we had a bus to catch so we returned to the fork and this time took the right on, which soon ascended around the back of the inlet.

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The path (and then track) soon reaches Clashach Quarry, at the entrance to which there is a display of rocks containing fossilised footprints - we thought these were quite hard to make out, however. You can catch a few glimpses of the quarry between the gorse fronds as the path makes its way through the scrub behind the quarry - there's also a fulmar sculpture and a few information boards about the birdlife here. Depending on your views on path erosion, a few narrow shortcuts miss out wide loops made by the main path.

Turn left at a T-junction, and the path regains the cliff edge. There are some dodgy-looking paths descending the cliffs here - probably to access the Sculptor's Cave (according to walkhighlands, this contains Pictish carvings, but we didn't risk the journey today). Continuing along the gradually narrowing path, we soon spied Covesea Lighthouse ahead, and then passed a tall sea stack which was still being used by a few birds.

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Out to sea, we thought we could make out an oil platform, but thought we must surely be mistaken. A few weeks later, we also spotted it from the coast near Brora - apparently this is the only platform that can be seen from the Scottish coastline. Another stumpy-looking sea stack was ahead, this one supported by two legs.

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Finally, to the beach. This turned out to be a marvellous, curving expanse of sand even with the tide partially in. A long but easy walk led all the way past Covesea Lighthouse to Lossiemouth, which turned out to have a very poor selection of places to eat (everything was closed!) despite its reasonable size. Luckily a bus - earlier than our planned one - came past at the perfect moment, so we hopped on and dined in Elgin instead. But first, the beach:

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The Moray coast so often seems to be sunny even when the rest of the north-east is experiencing poor weather - indeed, almost everyone we've spoken to from the area has mentioned the Moray "micro-climate". So this is a perfect place to look if you've had to rule out a high-level route - or even if you just fancy something more easy-going.
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denfinella
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Re: Hopeman to Lossiemouth: warm sunshine on the Moray coast

Postby dogplodder » Wed Sep 25, 2013 4:31 pm

Beautiful coastal scenery! When we moved from Glasgow to Nairn back in the 1970s we were told it was the Riviera of the North the climate was so good - and I think that's a fair description compared to rainy Glasgow! :?
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Re: Hopeman to Lossiemouth: warm sunshine on the Moray coast

Postby David-Main » Wed Sep 25, 2013 5:10 pm

The oil rig you saw was the Beatrice field. Was the cafe at the end of the walk as you come off the beach not open ?
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Re: Hopeman to Lossiemouth: warm sunshine on the Moray coast

Postby denfinella » Wed Sep 25, 2013 8:50 pm

dogplodder wrote:Beautiful coastal scenery! When we moved from Glasgow to Nairn back in the 1970s we were told it was the Riviera of the North the climate was so good - and I think that's a fair description compared to rainy Glasgow! :?


I agree, it's a pretty area in sunny conditions. "The Riviera of the North" seems like a good description - and yes, it does always appear to be raining in Glasgow ;)

David-Main wrote:The oil rig you saw was the Beatrice field. Was the cafe at the end of the walk as you come off the beach not open ?


Thanks for naming it - that's the one. No, the cafe was actually blocked off with wooden boards, chains and bins in the way to stop anyone entering. Not sure why!
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denfinella
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Re: Hopeman to Lossiemouth: warm sunshine on the Moray coast

Postby colingray8 » Thu Sep 26, 2013 7:44 am

A great wee walk! I've done this one a few times while staying at Silver Sands just under Covesea Lighthouse.

I still have vivid memories of sitting having lunch (just after the Fulmar sculpture) watching the seabirds and a pod of Dolphins. Fantastic!

Thanks for bringing back the memories.

/Colin.
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Re: Hopeman to Lossiemouth: warm sunshine on the Moray coast

Postby Mountainlove » Thu Sep 26, 2013 8:57 am

Oh that looks like a lovely walk in a area I havent been to yet.Good to know about the good weather...I will keep it in mind as an escape from the rain next time I am further up north. Lovely pictures as well :clap: :clap:
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Re: Hopeman to Lossiemouth: warm sunshine on the Moray coast

Postby BlackPanther » Thu Sep 26, 2013 3:53 pm

Lovely :D Another wander I did many times but always nice to see familiar landscape. Thanks for reminding :D

We still haven't been to the Sculptor's Cave but I know from somebody who has, that it's worth the effort... The access is possible only for a couple of hours, when the tide is at its lowest and every time we happened to be around, the sea was in. next time we need to check the tides - I wouldn't fancy being cut out inside a cave overnight...

Clashach Cove is easily accessible and a good place to play hide and seek :wink: My favourite ruined castle, Duffus, is also nearby.
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Re: Hopeman to Lossiemouth: warm sunshine on the Moray coast

Postby denfinella » Thu Sep 26, 2013 8:03 pm

colingray8 wrote:I still have vivid memories of sitting having lunch (just after the Fulmar sculpture) watching the seabirds and a pod of Dolphins. Fantastic!


No such sightings this time, but I agree, there are plenty of good lunch stops and lots of places to gaze out to sea.

Mountainlove wrote:Oh that looks like a lovely walk in a area I havent been to yet.Good to know about the good weather...I will keep it in mind as an escape from the rain next time I am further up north. Lovely pictures as well :clap: :clap:


Thanks. Moray definitely has a lot of good, sunny coastal walks. Nearby Ben Rinnes is also a Corbett which is often clear of cloud when the rest of the Cairngorms are covered.

BlackPanther wrote:We still haven't been to the Sculptor's Cave but I know from somebody who has, that it's worth the effort... The access is possible only for a couple of hours, when the tide is at its lowest and every time we happened to be around, the sea was in. next time we need to check the tides - I wouldn't fancy being cut out inside a cave overnight...

Clashach Cove is easily accessible and a good place to play hide and seek :wink: My favourite ruined castle, Duffus, is also nearby.


Duffus Castle is a great place to visit! Not your usual castle ruin at all, and even better when they're free of course. I've just spent a few minutes looking at info about the Sculptor's Cave and it's really captured my attention now. Might have to pay a visit sometime - do post a trip report if you get a chance to visit.
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