Having read Cameron McNeish's description of the Moray Coastal Trail in the Scots Magazine, a two-day coastal daunder from Forres to Cullen (or vice-versa), we were keen to see it for ourselves.
Rather than doing the entire walk, we walked a taster from Lossiemouth to Findhorn. I don't know if this is the best bit of the trail, but it was certainly eye-openingly beautiful, a blazingly sunny day helping the seaside mood.
Directly on leaving Lossie, a broad, pure beach leads to the Covesea lighthouse, perched on a low cliff-punctured crag above sand-dunes and links, hosting the ubiquitous golf course.
Moray Coastal Trail:
We stopped for a sunbathe and bite to eat, a big yellow helicopter buzzing about just offshore. I waved at the pilot - wonder if they waved back?
Above Sculptor's Cave:
After Covesea light, the path climbs up onto cliffs as far as Hopeman, tumbling masses of gorse falling over the crumbling edges, gulls on sea-stacks, with cliff-riddled headlands and rocky foreshores constrasting with gorgeous, inacessible beaches.
Brilliant display of forget-me-not and gorse:
Don't you just want to find a way down to this beach and share its limpid waters with the gulls?
Gulls on the beach:
On such a warm day it was a relief to reach Hopeman and have an ice-cream and top up our water supplies. But there was a fair way to go yet. Burghead was next - but on the way to Burghead, the highlight of our entire holiday occured.
Beach at Hopeman quarry:
The way to Burghead is less spectacular than the previous stretch, mainly walking along the bottom of an old railway cutting. But occasionally it opens out to the sea - and what was that out there? A pod of feeding dolphins, surrounded by gulls! If only I had a long lens to show you! There must have been over twenty dolphins, and my heart skipped a beat as one of them, then two simultaneously, leap entirely clear of the water in a display of joyous athleticism. We had paid for a boat trip a couple of days before to go out to see dolphins from Cromarty, but hadn't seen anything like this!
Beach huts, Hopeman:
Burghead is a pretty wee town, with fascinating Pictish remains: and we finished the day, sun and weather-beaten, in Findhorn, where we were staying the night. I haven't had as much fun on a day's walk for a very long time.
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