Chasing and escaping the tide

This has to be the most delayed blog post so far considering it’s covering a trip we made at the very beginning of January. So, without further ado, let’s get on with it.

We both had some time off over Christmas and the New Year period and decided to spend a long weekend away. Restricted somewhat by the horrific winds hitting the west coast, we chose to stick to the relative safety of the east coast.

As Bob had never visited the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses in Fraserburgh before we decided to spend some time re-visiting (for me) some of the lighthouses in that area.

Rattray Head
Rattray Head

We started our visits with an early start from our hotel on the outskirts of Peterhead. We were hoping to reach the lighthouse at Rattray Head at low tide to see how close we could get. When I’d visited before the tide had been high and I’d had to settle for seeing it from the sand dunes. This time the tide was certainly further out, although not for long. We weren’t able to reach the lighthouse to touch it, but got as close as we could before dashing back towards the safety of the dunes as the tide followed us in.

We had some time to spare before the museum opened so we headed south again to Buchan to see the Buchan Ness lighthouse. This had been one of my favourites on my tour, with the stunning red and white striped lighthouse on its own little island with beautiful blue skies. This marked the first lighthouse I’d managed to get a picture of with my new car, which I found very exciting! We crossed the bridge onto the lighthouse and made a note that you can stay in the cottages there – must do that in the future! We also strolled down to the rocks below the bridge and took some pictures of the waves and the lighthouse’s island from below. We decided to visit again later in the day at high tide.

Over halfway up Kinnaird Head lighthouse
Over halfway up Kinnaird Head lighthouse

We followed this up with a trip to the museum. We arrived just in time for the first tour, which was just as good as the first time around. We spent quite a long time at the museum – I think Bob enjoyed it and was snapping away with his camera all the way around.

From the museum we took a stroll along the coast path, which had recently been further eroded. I think the path was supposed to be closed, but there was no sign at the museum end. We reached the entrance to the breakwater and attempted to get to the lighthouse at the end, but there was a locked gate half way along so we took some pictures through the gate instead.

That afternoon, as planned, we paid another visit to Buchan Ness to see it at high tide.

The following day we took a slow journey back home. There was a HuMP (a hill with a hundred metre prominence) on the way that Bob wanted to bag, so we strolled up and Bob did the running through the heather bit, while I waited on the path.

Our next stop was a small village called Pennan, which has a very steep and winding road leading down to it. It’s a tiny little harbour village with some rather steep cliffs standing menacingly close to the backs of people’s houses. The village is most famous for being a film location, but you wouldn’t know it from it’s quiet and friendly atmosphere. I was a bit concerned about getting back up the road, but managed fine – mostly because I didn’t meet anyone coming in the opposite direction.

Covesea Skerries lighthouse
Covesea Skerries lighthouse

As we continue along the coast towards Inverness, we stopped off at Covesea Skerries lighthouse. It’s light was turned off a couple of years ago and there has been some debate over ownership of it since, but I’m not sure how that’s ended up. It certainly seemed all quiet that day.

Our final stop-off was Cummingston, a short distance from Lossiemouth. Bob had told me I needed to see the coast there. He’d been climbing there before and started his visit with a bit of a trip down the slide in the playground there. So, we did the same. Once Bob had flown down to the bottom I set off and struggled down to the bottom with my trousers sticking to the slightly damp slide all the way down!

Just around the corner and up the old railway line, we reached the stunning coast with its fantastic stacks. The tide was on its way in, but we managed to dash across quickly to check out one of the caves, which was amazing. We carefully then made our way up to the top of cliffs where we could look down on the stacks. Such a beautiful place!

That ended our weekend away. We’d both had a great time and I’d enjoyed showing Bob some more of the sights I’d seen back in 2012.

So, where will the lighthouse tour take us next?! I’m not sure, but I do know that plans are underway to visit some of the more obscure island lights in the near future 🙂

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