Saturday, May 19, 2012

Day 77: Brora

Distance: 18.7 miles
Match of the day: Hearts vs. Hibs

We started the day watching the telly. The Olympic flame started it's relay from Lands End. I was surprised to see that you can actually see the ocean from the sign post. It was cool to see the place and recognize where we were. We even caught a glimpse of Penzance when the flame arrived there an hour after leaving Lands End. Those torch bearers must be fast! It took us a whole day to walk that.

It looks like the weather is finally improving, just in time for our last few days. It's still on the cool side, but the sunny skies and lack of rain make it perfect for walking.

We were able to avoid the A road for a while by taking some back roads north from Dornoch, but eventually we had no choice. The roads have to get around an estuary and the only way across is the A9. We were on it for about 6 miles. 6 terrifying miles.

There's no shoulder, but we can jump off onto the verge when necessary. It was necessary every minute or two. I think the scariest thing is how the drivers here pass so aggressively. At one point there were 5 cars heading in the same direction as us up a hill. Three cars moved out to pass the first one at the same time! Without being able to see if anything was coming over the hill! Two made it past the first car and the third had to duck in, since someone was coming over the hill. I was still trying not to think of what would happen to us if cars start swerving and colliding when a truck lost a spool of rope about 20 yards ahead of us. It came bouncing our way then off into the ditch. See the spool down there. Glad it bounced out when it did because getting conked with that would have been a real bummer.

So, to say that walking on the A9 sucks is a big understatement. The only upside is that we do pick up our pace, even though it feels like time slows down while we're on it.

The A9 led us into the town of Golspie where we found a lovely little cafe serving lunch. It was a welcomed break from the noise and terror, plus they had lemon cake with iridescent sparkly sprinkles on it for dessert! I think Erin would approve.

Outside the cafe, we saw this sign.

All the signs from Inverness north have been bilingual. The Celtic looks completely foreign and sounds like Klingon when Al "reads" it.

Thankfully there is a coast path that we could take north out of Golspie all the way to Brora. It was a beautiful day to walk along the ocean. Just out of Golspie we passed the Disney-esque Dunrobin Castle.

It's the home of the Duke of Sutherland and has almost 200 rooms. The gardens are supposed to be super fancy, but we were outside the walls, so couldn't see. Makes Downton Abbey look our house!

We spent a good part of the walk to Brora giddy at being away from the A9. The beautiful scenery helped.

The bluebells are in bloom.

Nothing beats walking on the coast on a sunny day.

The seals were as happy as we were to finally get a bit of sunshine.

We stopped to check out the ruin of Carn Liath. It was a tall stone roundhouse that dates from 2,300-1,900 years ago. Quite a bit of the structure is still intact, including an interior staircase. Pretty cool.

Finally we made it to Brora and our B&B. It was a long walk and hopefully we won't have any longer days from now on. I hope Larry's 17 mile run went well today. Thanks for the California style sunshine! I'm sure it's a result of your virtual companionship.

Location:Academy St,,United Kingdom


  1. One of the rules I made for myself for the virtual LEJoG finale shadow is that each day I have to run on a different route, and ideally, one I haven't run or walked before. This morning, I got on google maps and found a nice trail in an east bay town called Niles along a creek and green area from the foothills to the ba/ocean. I parked 8.5 miles from the bay and did an out and back with a turnaround at the water to get my 17 miles in. Beautiful route on a perfect day (59F when I started, 72F when I finished). Definitely a route I will run again, one of the prettiest routes around these parts -- and I only discovered it because you inspired me to take on this challenge. Thanks for that!

    The cumulative miles are catching up with me though. The last 4 miles today were on pretty dead legs, with short walk breaks every mile or so. I did pretend my house was a Scottish Pub and have a cold beer when I got home. Then a nap. :-)

    This afternoon I am going to BevMo to see if I can find some actual Scottish Ale so I can end each of the next 5 days with something a little more authentic than the American swill I have in my fridge.

    See you out there tomorrow, somewhere new for another 12!

  2. Dawn, I have to say, this walking/trekking thing sure seems to agree with you! You look so young, fresh and chipper! Such a youngin! Al too!

    Julie W
    Backwards again ...

  3. Couldn't follow your blog today as I had other business to attend to............. I was at Hampden Park, Glasgow to see the 'demolition derby' Hearts v Hibs (5-1 to Hearts :-))

    Norrie fae Linlithgow