Today I walked along the shore to Dundee and eventually found how to access the Tay Bridge as a pedestrian - by elevator! Then a couple of miles down the centre of the bridge along with fellow pedestrians and cyclists. At the far end I enjoyed a bacon roll at a cafe before continuing along the Fife Coastal Path. I cut through a pine forest next to RAF Leuchars which is a base for Typhoons and Tornados. It was quiet today. There were no rooms available anywhere in Leuchars so I got a lift into St Andrews a few miles down the road with Kevin, the brilliant local taxi driver. Gulp! accommodation prices! Thankfully Kevin had a few local contacts and I got a room at a very discounted rate. That evening I was surrounded by Americans! Not a Scottish accent anywhere except from the staff!
This morning I headed up to 'Saltyre Sports Centre' in Arbroath for a sports massage with 'Kirsty Hay'. She was running in the Edinburgh Marathon for Alzheimer Scotland so good luck to her. She donated money into my tin, and I donated money into her tin! Brilliant massage and left me feeling ready to tackle the remainder of this leg. From Arbroath I went along the coast to Carnoustie where I happened to pass an osteopathy clinic www.linksosteopathy.co.uk run by Richard Fulton. I dialled the number and without hesitation Richard fitted me in between appointments to service my back. Brilliant. No charge either. Thank you. So legs serviced, and now my back. In glorious sunshine I continued on to 'Broughty Ferry' and found a room for the night.
In my freshly laundered clothes, I walked down to Lunan Bay and visited 'Lunan House Care Home'. Run by Four Seasons Health Care, this care home looks after people with learning disabilities. Despite the challenges that both the staff and residents face, it was a happy place and I really enjoyed my tour of the place and meeting everyone there. Amazing staff. Then on down into Arbroath.
At last. I took a rest day! They did my laundry. It rained hard all day so a good day to stay indoors! I spent the day sleeping and resting.
This morning I woke to rain and gales. I spent the morning walking along the shore path into 55 mph winds gusting to 80 mph! I had to leave the coast as I couldn't make progress and followed the relatively more sheltered cycle route inland into Montrose where I visited the 'Montrose Care Home' run by Four Seasons Health Care. I received a lovely welcome from the staff and residents, before finding a room at 'Links Hotel'. You never know. I may have a rest day tomorrow!
After breakfast I got a lift back up to Stonehaven to the pub where I left off the night before. The walk back down was along the path right next to the A92. On arriving at 'Havencourt Care Home' I met the staff and had lunch with some of the residents. All in all, a very happy place and I had a lovely time. We took a photo and hope it might make it into the local paper. After lunch I followed a cycle route down the coast to Inverbervie. Everywhere was booked for the night, so I plodded onto 'Gourdon' where a passing taxi driver stopped for a chat, a donation and then fixed me up with a room at the 'Harbour Bar' in Gourdon. What a lovely, character-filled place. They didn't serve evening food, but made me a toasted sandwich, and the locals bought me my drinks. A great place!
Today was supposed to one of my allocated rest days, but again I decided I should keep going in order to try and stay vaguely on schedule. This is my 14th consecutive day of walking, following a six months break when I took no exercise! It's not big. It's not clever. But I feel I should do it! I walked through and round Aberdeen's harbour. There were plenty of impressive high-tech service vessels which help to keep the offshore rigs running. Then along cycle routes, cliff-top paths and footpaths. In Newtonhill I stopped for a drink in a pub were I got advice on where to stay. I got a lift into Stonehaven and stayed at the lovely 'Ship Inn' which is right on the sea front. My plan for tomorrow is to get a lift back to Newtonhill and walk back into Stonehaven and visit "Havencourt Care Home" run by Four Seasons Health Care. After which I will walk on a few more miles in the direction of Montrose.
It was hard to get up this morning as I am so tired, even if it was a lovely sunny morning. I watched and listened to Eider ducks (wonderful "Ooooooaaaaooooh" call which makes them sound as though they are admiring you!) as I went along the shore of the River Ythan where there was also a large colony of seals - perhaps 200 in total. Spent most of the day walking along the beach. The weather closed in but not too much rain. Followed the shore road into Aberdeen where I found a Hilton hotel - 'Double Tree' - prepared to give me a great deal on a room as part of their contribution to my walk.
Goodness me! Do I need a rest day?! Oh yes! However I need to keep going. It threatened to rain all day so I wore my waterproof trousers which unfortunately gave me chaffing problems. The less said the better! I spent the day just inland of the shore following quiet lanes through agricultural communities. When I reached Collieston I crossed the sand dune wilderness of 'Forvie National Nature Reserve'. It is a shame I didn't have more time to explore it but I will return one day. My feet were aching by the end of the day and I was in some discomfort from the chaffing! I made it to Newburgh on the banks of the River Ythan and stayed at the 'Udny Arms Hotel'. I can sense the affluence in this area as I approach the suburbs of Aberdeen.
Not only did the 'Tufted Duck' help me with my accommodation costs, they also made me a lovely packed lunch! I started my day by walking along the beach at St Combs before moving slightly inland on a path through the dunes and grassland, past 'Loch of Strathbeg' and a wood. Then onto quiet country lanes to skirt round the gas terminal and then onto an old rail track into the heart of Peterhead know as the 'Formatine & Buchan Way'.