Corona do your worst but you can't affect the beauty

Route: Forres to Burghead

Date walked: 18/03/2020

Distance: 12km

Life under the threat of Corvid19 is very strange. We're already used to coronaviruses that give us sore throats, coughs and runny noses but this new one is different because it can kill, has reached the UK with alarming speed and threatens to overwhelm our already overstretched NHS. And It's invisible so we have to assume it's everywhere and no one is safe. Life as we know it has ground to a halt, apart from key workers who are working harder than ever, while the rest of us are told to stay home.

One of the things we're still allowed to do is walk the dog. This may change as things ramp up but as of now we're still allowed to get out in the fresh air, as long as we keep our distance. So with a forecast of sun in the east, Moira and I decided on part of the Moray Coast Trail, using two cars for social distancing and walking 2 metres apart.

Writing this up five days later, the advice now is to stay at home, not to travel and only to walk in your local area. So we wouldn't be doing this now. Maybe it's the last further afield walk we'll do for a long time.

Back to five days ago. We started at Findhorn, parking at the large car park by the sand dunes. Findhorn is an attractive fishing village, well worth a wander before starting on the coastal path to Burghead.



Zoomed across Findhorn Bay to the spit of sand known as the Ee

Findhorn from the Ee

Ice house

The Icehouse was built over 150 years ago and has multiple underground arched chambers that were used to store ice for packing salmon to travel to London. The vast chambers are now used to display all aspects of the net salmon fishing industry in the Moray Firth.

Information board near car park

We didn't immediately look for the Moray Coast Trail as wanted to get on to the beach (our excuse being the dog wanted to get on to the beach!).

Findhorn beach looking west

Findhorn beach looking east towards Burghead

We saw a few other dog walkers but had it pretty much to ourselves and only saw groups of folk at the Roseisle car park.

It was blowy and exhilerating

WW2 anti-tank defences

The tide was going out so we could have walked all the way to Burghead by the beach but that didn't feel quite right if we were meant to be following the MCT. So after a while we went up on to the sand dunes, where we didn't immediately find the MCT but knew we were heading in the right direction.

On sand dunes

Young pines growing on sand dunes

A splash of colour

A shower came as we passed the turbines, but didn't last long.


Are you coming?

Practising 'social distancing'

Burghead Bay

At last we had proof we were on the right track!

MCT marker post

Zoomed to Cromarty cliffs and Ben Wyvis


We followed the perimeter fence of the RAF Kinloss base and thought about the fighter jets that went up on three days recently to intercept Russian planes heading for our air space. Do they think we're distracted and won't notice?

More remains from WW2

As the track swung into Roseisle Forest we were met by towering stacks of timber, which by the sweet smell must have been recently harvested. I was ready to put Keira on the lead but we didn't see any work going on. All was quiet when we were there.

Roseisle Forest

We were starting to feel a bit peckish and agreed that if the bird hide was empty we would stop there for lunch. We wouldn't be able to do that now as since then the RSPB has closed hides to the public for fear of spreading the virus.

The hide was empty and we got comfy seats overlooking bird feeders outside the window. On the feeders we saw coal tits, chaffinch and a woodpecker but the windows were too dirty for a decent photo. Our timing was perfect as there was a shower while we were in there.

Bird hide

Greater Spotted Woodpecker (not my photo)

From the hide it was a short distance to the large Roseisle car park which has toilets, but they were closed. From the number of families we saw there it looked like a lot of folk were taking their children off school ahead of the closure on Friday. We continued along the old Burma Road built by POWs and before we knew it had reached the caravan site on the edge of Burghead. From the caravan site we continued up to the headland, which was so windy it was difficult to keep the camera still.

Burghead headland - site of a Pictish fort

Burghead harbour

The site of the former coastguard lookout has been adapted for use as a visitor centre. It will take visitors through the history of the area from about 400AD to the present time. To adapt the lookout building which was built on the inner rampart of the Pictish fort, over 300 tons of rubble put there by the Picts some 1500 years ago was removed by hand.

Note the unsteady camera!

Looking towards Hopeman

Memorial to those lost at sea

We were fortunate to have done this walk on such a beautiful day and were keen to come back to do the next stage some day soon. But we can't. Unnecessary travel is out. So along with everyone else we will have to be patient and wait until life has gone back to normal. The beauty of the hills, lochs and coastline will still be there when this virus has run its course and I guess we'll appreciate it all the more because for a while our freedom had been curtailed.

Stay safe everyone. It's not forever.

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Comments: 6

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