My initial plan for today was to walk another stretch of the Speyside Way between Grantown-on-Spey and Tormore Distillery. I abandoned that plan when difficult road conditions were forecast – I didn’t want to put at risk a friend of mine who was to give me a lift. Instead I thought to explore the Moray coast west off the river Spey – I had never walked there.
I planned to leave my car in the car park at the Scottish Dolphin Centre by the mouth of the river Spey on its east side, then walk along the Speyside Way southward to the old railway bridge over the river. The last bit was the beginning of my ‘exploratory’ walk. Initially I was going to return the same way after walking a couple of miles. So I followed the Moray Coastal Trail along the old railway towards the village of Garmouth. The floor of the bridge didn’t look solid to me and I was pretty happy to reach the other side and put my feet on more solid ground. A bit further on the trail climbed up out of the railway to a bridge, then passing over it before running through the village’s narrow and winding streets. Walking there was very quiet and atmospheric in the crispy air and deep shadows created by the Sun hanging low on the sky. A few minutes later I left the village going on the pavement and then a well-trodden path towards another small village, Kingston. There I reached the mouth of the river Spey, but on the other side. At that point the walk wasn’t too long, so I decided to go westward along the coast for another couple of miles, and then to return.
Sometime later I reached the gate of the military firing range. From there the cityscape of the distant Lossiemouth looked deceitfully close and beckoning. My only problem was the car left behind and a massively unappealing prospect of walking all the way back along the same route. The decision hung on a thread; the only sensible option was to call ‘the cavalry’ to come to my rescue. A few texts later I was going on towards Lossiemouth assured that the cavalry in the shape of my friend would come. Most of that part was pretty uneventful except a long chain of solid concrete fortifications, remains from the World War II. It looked odd to me as there is a pretty high natural stony embankment between that line and the sea, obscuring completely the view of the latter. But I’m not a military engineer… One of the bunkers has been reclaimed by nature; partially immersed in water it looked like a terrified face of someone drowning. Then on the dunes I spotted some strange looking constructions; when I approached a couple of them standing almost side by side I realised they used to house big guns, now long gone.
A couple of miles later the stony embankment gradually lowered and almost imperceptibly morphed into a nice sandy beach that Lossiemouth is famous for. Low tide uncovered vast swathes of sand, reaching far into the sea. The beach was pretty empty, lit beautifully by the low Sun and caressed by gentle breeze. Finally I crossed a narrow bridge over the river Lossie and the unexpectedly unplanned walk was complete.