Thanks to a 4.30 am wake up call from the dogs, followed by another at 6.30am we started the day fairly tired! We woke up to the news that we had reached our target of £3000 which is just incredible so early on in the walk. We are so grateful to everyone who has sponsored us and shared our story. Setting off, we made our way through Dornoch which really is beautiful and we wish we had more time there.
Walking past the golf course we followed a path through the dunes down to the campsite where our friends Roger and Judy were staying with their grandchildren. We met up with them briefly, arranging to meet them at lunchtime before making a half-hearted attempt to relocate the path along the old Dornoch Light Railway.
Unsurprisingly we didn’t find it but we decided we were heading in the right general direction and eventually reached the beach. As Kevin always used to say ‘why be a slave to convention’.
Looking back, this probably extended our walk a little bit but it was definitely worth it! The beach was beautiful and we both love being by the sea.
We thought we could see where we were heading on the other side of the water and expected to be able to cross to it round the next bend. We rounded the bend and were greeted by a huge expanse of water, round which we didn’t think we could walk in a day, never mind before lunch!! Our hearts sank, Kate marched off and Olivia slowed down to a snail’s pace. However after looking at the map we realised that we didn’t have to go all the way round to the bit we had seen and were probably only about half an hour from the agreed meeting place! On our way we passed Skelbo Castle up on the hillside.
We had lunch with a view, 6 seals and an osprey on the shores of Loch Fleet and Jessie and Mollie got to catch up with their friends Bonnie and Dina (Roger and Judy’s dogs).
We travelled by car for the next short section as again we didn’t feel it was safe to walk on the A9. On the way to our restart point we stopped at The Mound -a manmade crossing over Loch Fleet. Here we met some lovely people who showed us an osprey nest through their scope, and whilst we were looking at that we saw a fox wandering along the water’s edge! Having been dropped at our restart point with Phil, we followed a track down over some train tracks and into the woods.
From here we travelled along a lovely sandy beach into Golspie where we visited The Coffee Bothy. It had so many lovely cakes but unfortunately it was just a quick drink and a water bottle refill for us and then it was time to head off again. On our way out of Golspie, two lovely people at the bus stop gave us donations (hopefully it wasn’t their bus fares!).
The donations put a spring in our step as we continued on along grassy paths by the sea. We had a lovely view of the fairy-tale like Dunrobin Castle which kept us going for a while!
The last 4 miles is when it got really tough. The walking was all on thick, long grass or stony beaches with the added challenges of getting under and over barbed wire, as well as across burns.
Olivia in particular was really struggling with sore feet but Phil kindly took her backpack allowing her to jog for a short time (weirdly this helps!?) and we powered on through to Brora.
Today has definitely been our toughest day yet, our feet are still pretty uncomfortable now and we are discussing the possibility of shortening our route for tomorrow. Hopefully a good night’s rest will help and we will see what the morning brings!