Friday, 30 October 2009

Spey Bay

Yesterday, for the sixth of this series of seven beaches, I drove a few miles up the coast to Spey Bay. This is where the river Spey meets the sea and there are long banks of pebbles on either side. Most of our beaches are sandy so this made a change.

The river mouth attracts a wide variety of wildlife, the biggest draw being the resident Moray Firth dolphins, which have often been seen feeding on the river's salmon. Ospreys can also be seen fishing here during the summer, too late to see one now as they've all headed off to Africa for the winter.

The Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society have a centre here, it's popular with tourists and has a pretty good cafe. It was a beautiful day, the sea was lovely and it didn't matter that the dolphins didn't put in an appearance.


The river joins the sea.

Looking up river.

Looking west.

Zooming in on Lossiemouth to the west.

Eastwards and Cullen Bin (hill).

Jana wasn't very keen on the pebbles.

Lots of driftwood gets washed up here.

This was part of a very large piece of driftwood that the centre salvaged and have turned into a feature in the garden. It is called 'Diving Cetacean'. I can see why.

All the dogs found the pebbles hard going.

Louis kept telling me how much more tempting the adjacent golf course and gorse bushes were.

We went that way. Happy dogs.


The last beach was Nairn today. Hopefully I'll get that posted tomorrow when I get back from a dog show.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

The fifth beach and a bonus castle

Doing a week's worth of posts on a different beach every day has been a bigger project than I realised, hence my fifth beach is a day behind. Taking so many photos has a lot to do with it and also having to fit in going to work!

Yesterday turned out to be warm and sunny, most unlike a typical October day. I met up with Jenny and her three GSDs at Cullen, which is about half an hour's drive away and is another one-time fishing town along the Moray coast. A major landmark in Cullen is the old railway viaduct, it no longer carries trains but is well used by walkers and cyclists.

Looking from the harbour towards the viaduct and beach.

A view of the beach through part of the viaduct.

I've shown you this beach but we were actually heading for another - Sunnyside Bay, a couple of miles along a path that follows the rocky shoreline.

Brint discovered a tyre. It was too heavy to carry so he had to leave it there.

He found it again on the way back!

Those shepherds couldn't wait to get in the water.

There are lots of interesting rock formations, especially these sideways layered ones. My geology knowledge is not good enough to know what they are called or how they got there.

The three shepherds....Keira

Smiling Sadie


The footpath is narrow, muddy in places and involves a few climbs.

This is a memorial to a man who single-handedly built the stone steps on this stretch of the path. We were quite impressed with his handiwork but wondered why he chose to do it here, a couple of miles along the route, in the middle of nowhere.

Gypsy reaches the beach

Sunnyside Bay is small and secluded, we had it to ourselves.

Looking back along the coast. It was almost like a summer day.

This is the looking down on the beach from the cliffs above. We climbed up to get a view of the castle a bit further along.

It's now a ruin and looks like it has become a part of the rock that it was built upon.

The information board gives you an idea of how it would have looked all those years ago.

There has been a fort here since the thirteenth century but these buildings are dated from the late fourteenth century.
You can walk down to the ruins but they are not very safe and we didn't want to risk losing a dog over the edge!

The path was very muddy in places. The paps wore quite a bit of it home!

Cullen has a pet cemetary, the only one I know of in the area. It is right beside the sea and we passed it on our route.

For the last couple of months Jana, the accident-prone vizsla, has managed to remain unscathed but it obviously couldn't last. Towards the end of this walk, I noticed she had a hole in her chest. It looked like another stitch-up was on the cards.

Looking through the photos I spotted the fresh looking wound on this one. She is running back after clambering on the rocks and I suspect she may have slipped and caught herself on a sharp bit. Body armour is definitely required!

I took her in to work with me and I'm pleased to say that it looks like she'll get away without being stitched. The wound was quite fresh, clean and not too big so it was stapled instead.

Jana's body piercings.
She's thinking of getting her ears and nose done next. In gold. It goes with her coat.

Our walk was a round trip of almost six miles and lasted roughly three hours. There's only one way to end such an outing........ soup and sweet in a tea room!

Seeing as we were in Cullen, Jenny chose the Cullen Skink. (A type of fish soup, in case you haven't heard of it).

It was a great walk and we couldn't have asked for nicer weather.


It was Spey Bay and pebbles for the sixth beach today. It will appear tomorrow.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Sand, sea and soggy dogs

Day four of the week's worth of beaches and it was a short drive a couple of miles up the road to Burghead Bay. This crescent shaped bay is a six mile stretch of sand between Burghead to the east and Findhorn to the west. You can reach the beach from either end or drive through Roseisle Forest and park at a point roughly half way along. The forest runs almost the length of the beach and extends quite a way inland.

For once the weather men were correct and the rain poured down. We did get wet but I managed to get a few photos during a very short break in the rain. Not great shots I'm afraid, I used the smaller camera and some water droplets got on the lens.

Looking west, Findhorn in the distance.

Looking east to Burghead

Much calmer sea today.

The remains of the concrete war defences are much in evidence on this beach.

The dogs always find the 'pill boxes' very interesting. Probably because they are well used pee posts! Louis adds to the messages.

Click to enlarge - could that be a ghost peering out of the window?!

A wet vizsla doesn't look too different to a dry one.

The same can't be said for a papillon!

The photos below were taken earlier in the year.

When the tide is out there's a lot of beach here.

Almost the whole beach seen from the Findhorn end.

Tomorrow we head off to Cullen with the promise of good weather.

Another day, another beach

I've decided to take part in My World Tuesday this week, click here to see what's happening all around the world. (I know this post is about Monday's beach but, by the time I got it finished, it had turned into Tuesday!)

It was back to Lossiemouth for the third of the seven beach visits (see the previous posts for the first two) but this time it was East Beach, which is on the other side of the harbour and where the river Lossie meets the sea.

The beach stretches for miles up to Kingston and Spey Bay. It is accessed by means of a footbridge over the river Lossie.

The dunes you can see were man-made to help prevent erosion and were created using old railway carriages.

The footbridge.

We rarely visit East Beach and this was probably Jana's first trip over the bridge. Note the posture and spread toes, she definitely didn't think it was safe!

A rainbow started to make an appearance above the harbour wall but didn't come to anything. Despite heavy looking skies, no rain appeared and it was a much better day than yesterday.

Jana spots a monster in the dunes.

The river mouth is a great place for bird life.

Better weather but still quite rough sea..............

............which created lots of frothy spume. Cappuccino comes to mind.

Jana wears Uggs

East Beach is quite popular with surfers. Even in October.

Dune surfing.

Beaches are the best for running.

And running

Running with a smile.

These are a couple of the fisher cottages of Seatown, a little huddle of about 50 homes beside the river mouth which date back to the 17th century. These are typically compact, I think even I (at 5'2") might have to watch my head going through that blue door!

Lossiemouth's harbour was once home to a large fishing fleet. Nowadays it's a marina full of fancy yachts.

Not from East Beach but yesterday's lighthouse seen from a different angle. It appears to be stranded high and dry. This photo was taken today, not long after the beach trip, so it is surprising to see the sky looking so blue. It was definitely grey. Who said "the camera never lies"?

Tomorrow's weather forecast is BAD. I haven't decided which beach to visit yet but will it make any difference? You probably won't get to see much of it.