This was an easy day along the Deeside Way to the heart of Aberdeen, through Torry past the harbour with the final bit on the coastal path to Girdle Ness. The sun was shining, I had plenty of time and I set out in the late morning, planning to finish about 1.30 and then have a pint and lunch in Aberdeen.
The Deeside Way is an old railway line, built for Queen Victoria to get to Balmoral (I doubt that it ever broke even). Although a bit more urbanised than I would like, it is a great corridor into the city with lots of wild flowers and birds. Wild garlic is common and the scent is wonderful – if, like me, you like garlic.
The Deeside Way ends at a park in Aberdeen, then you follow the river to the harbour – where I had my first glimpse of the North Sea.
Torry is an old fishing area and there are still fish processing factories there although landings are all now at Peterhead and Fraserburgh. The smell of fish lingers though as you walk through and onto the coastal path to Girdle Ness. It was a beautiful sunny day as I approached the lighthouse.
Then, down onto the beach and a very attractive little cove where I celebrated by eating my last caramel wafer. Someone had built stone towers, which I thought were quite attractive. I tried to gingerly dip my toe in the sea but totally misjudged the waves and ended up with soaking wet feet. A fitting end to the Challenge – wet feet on day 1, day 13 and every day in between!
So, that was it. No one else around so I made my way back to Aberdeen, getting soaked in the process by a sudden rain squall.
I decided not to go to Montrose on the Wednesday. Montrose is not exactly one of Scotland’s urban jewels and spending an extra night there didn’t really appeal. So I went on the train on Thursday, signed out, camped and enjoyed the company and the dinner, which was much better than I had been warned to expect – lentil soup, haggis-stuffed chicken and cranachan. The sea of orange T-shirts was a wee bit overwhelming but I guess Rab must have had some stock in an unpopular colour to get rid of.
I had a great time and a wonderful experience. Many thanks to John Manning and his organisational team and to everyone I met on the Challenge.