Hope always dies last

Route: Hopeman to Lossiemouth

Date walked: 12/03/2022

Time taken: 3 hours

Distance: 10km

Ascent: 150m

It was a cloudy, showery day and far too windy to venture out on the hills, yet the continuous frustration of the bad news from the eastern front chased me out of the house in search for some mental healing. It's been a week since our visit to Beinn Teallach and things still looked grim. I admit I was scared sh**less at that point in time. I had just applied for my passport renewal, just in case I'd have to go to Poland to get my family out if war started in my country. Kevin wasn't as badly affected and kept telling me I was going over the top - he was right in the end, but back in early March the whole situation looked bleak and my nerves were shuttered.
In such circumstances spending a few hours exploring the seaside seemed a good idea, even if we were risking getting showered on :wink: Mountains always had a calming effect on me but the ocean can be a forceful power as well, especially on a windy day. We decided to visit one of our favourite stretches of Moray coast between Lossiemouth and Hopeman. If I was going to regain my senses, the village of hope would probably be the best place to find them :D

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We parked in Hopeman beach car park and started on the path east past the beach huts, with great views back to the village of Hopeman and the more distant Burghead in the background:
2022-03-12 hopeman to covesea 001.JPG

The eastern Hopeman beach consists of several shingle bays:
2022-03-12 hopeman to covesea 005.JPG

A good spot for meditation, but we headed further on:
2022-03-12 hopeman to covesea 009.JPG

I am usually annoyed by these weird "pebble towers" but here, on the beach, I didn't mind them. The next high tide will flatten them down anyway.
2022-03-12 hopeman to covesea 018.JPG

Posing on the edge of reason :wink:
2022-03-12 hopeman to covesea 021.JPG

The first set of caves is easily accessible but we had visited them, and the nearby beach, many times before, so today we just took a few quick photos:
2022-03-12 hopeman to covesea 030.JPG

Rock and sand:
2022-03-12 hopeman to covesea 031.JPG

The path continues past the old quarry and follows the cliff edge towards the coastguard lookout:
2022-03-12 hopeman to covesea 048.JPG

The sea was quite choppy today but I actually liked it that way - gives our photos more wild character :D
2022-03-12 hopeman to covesea 047.JPG

The tide was on its way in so we gave up any ideas of visiting Sculptor's cave (it is only available for a very short time at the lowest tide level) and instead stayed on the path, walking towards the Covesea sea stacks. This is the most impressive section of this walk. I always wanted to get down and explore the shallow caves of Covesea but assumed they were not accessible from above.
2022-03-12 hopeman to covesea 056.JPG

No visible way down from the western end:
2022-03-12 hopeman to covesea 057.JPG

We found a branch of the main path that descended to the stony beach east of the sea stacks. From there, it is possible to sneak below the cliffs and scramble down to the natural bay containing the arch and the shallow caves.
2022-03-12 hopeman to covesea 060.JPG
Lucy takes a break...

In dry conditions getting down to the beach is very easy; we had to be careful as it was a wet day and rocks were slippery... Managed without any nasty accidents.
From below, the caves look intriguing:
2022-03-12 hopeman to covesea 067.JPG

Of course, we couldn't resist having a look inside :D The caves are more just like deep arches and one can walk through them easily:
2022-03-12 hopeman to covesea 080.JPG

One of the passages:
2022-03-12 hopeman to covesea 075.JPG

One of many arches:
2022-03-12 hopeman to covesea 083.JPG

The big sea stack seen from the eastern side:
2022-03-12 hopeman to covesea 082.JPG

Me posing with one of the "legs":
2022-03-12 hopeman to covesea 087.JPG

The cloud was thickening and we expected heavy rain to arrive soon so we didn't really have time to explore the whole bay, but we will definitely come back here, maybe during the bird nesting season - the area is home to countless fulmars :D
2022-03-12 hopeman to covesea 089.JPG
I don't think there is a way up the cliffs on the western side of the bay

The North Sea choppy today, the tide coming in:
2022-03-12 hopeman to covesea 094.JPG

One more snap of the largest sea stack with me in the foreground just to show the size of it:
2022-03-12 hopeman to covesea 105.JPG

Cave entrances:
2022-03-12 hopeman to covesea 110.JPG

2022-03-12 hopeman to covesea 111.JPG

We scrambled back up to the path and started walking back to Hopeman. The rain arrived ten minutes later and it was pretty heavy, we were glad we had taken out waterproofs!

Overall, maybe not an epic walk but I loved exploring the arches and caves of Covesea. A lovely walk with nice views and a good way to de-stress my nervous system. On the way back home we popped in to Sainsbury's to buy a few bottles of our favourite stout and some venison for dinner :D

Weather stayed unsettled for the next few days, so we continued with low-level explorations. My next TR will take us up the NE coast to visit the brochs and castles of Caithness :D

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User avatar
Location: Beauly, Inverness-shire
Interests: Hillwalking, cycling, jogging, mushroom picking, aircraft investigations and many other outdoor activities, meowing on mountain summits included :P
Activity: Mountain Walker
Mountain: Beinn Eighe
Place: Isle of Skye
Gear: well... my husband ;)))
Camera: FujiFilm Finepix HS10
Ideal day out: Anything - from beach strolls to scrambling up icy slopes. Just bring it on!
Ambition: Tick off all Munros...

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Long Distance routes: Dava Way    Moray Coastal Trail   

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