- Chris Jones
Day 74 & 75. Wed 26th, Thurs 27th April. Cullen to Lossiemouth.
Updated: May 24
I can't believe I put my air pods on the bed, the colour of the case melting into the colour of the quilt !!! What an arse... I think I scared Michael and Debbie though, I'm sure they thought they were stuck with me.... 😬 A wasted hour and a few miles I didn't need to walk but hey ho, the sun was trying to break through and I'd slept really well so no harm done.
Decending the cliffs into Findochty I thought I'd found a cafe so stopped for a brew. It was actually a 'Men's Shed', the guys all beavering away on various projects. They did stop working and we had a good chat over a brew.
If you've never heard of the 'Mens Shed' Association, look them up. A brilliant concept, guys getting together to be creative, socialise and have a laugh, breaking down issolation barriers and thereby helping to prevent loneliness and the hental health issues caused when men don't get out and talk.
Of course, the guys often do some fantastic community work as well so everyone's a winner. Everyone has a set of skills and when you put a bunch of guys together and pool that skill base, there isn't much you can't achieve. 'Men's Sheds' are located all over the UK so please, look them up and see if there's one you can get involved with.
That said, I don't think they will be getting these rolling any time soon...
I got to Spey Bay for tea time and decided it would be a perfect place to camp for the night. Talking to lots of different people coming and going, this is an excellent spot to see the pod of 129 dolphins that are often seen here at the mouth of the river Spey. The salmon coming in and out of the river make it a perfect feeding ground and the Osprey are also often seen diving down to catch the fish. I prepared my tea and sat out until gone 10pm and saw nothing !!!
I was woken up just after 11pm by the sound of a car wheel spinning in the carpark and a group of young lads carrying on. I lay there for half an hour expecting a visit but nothing, they left me alone and eventually screeched off in there hot hatch back. It does worry me sometimes if I chose to camp where I'm visible, there are some bloody idiots that live amongst us you know but I'm pleased to say, I've had no trouble yet. Packing up in the morning I noticed a pile of old car tyres dumped by one of the little bins that weren't there when I went to bed !!! Bunch of morons.... so now the charity running the dolphin sanctuary has the problem of disposing of them properly. 🤬
The days walk was a boring one, mile after mile walking on a track between the Forrest and the dunes, no sand, all pebbles which are really difficult to walk on. Also, the longest line of WW2 defenses I've ever seen, cubes of reinforced concrete 6 foot appart for at least 5 miles, this was clearly a strategic area during the war and there must of been a big concern that the Germans might land here.
A boring day only interrupted once by a young couple walking in the opposite direction laden down with heavy packs. An ex RAF snow drop and his girlfriend who had been out for the night wild camping in the forest. I have heard that RAF police dogs only have handlers because the dogs can't open doors, I don't think that's true though because the dogs can't pick up their own shit can they so snow drops are actually multi skilled... I'm taking the mickey, they were a lovely couple and we had a nice chat for a bit before we moved on and I know the chap posted a lovely message on my blog and donated to the cause. Cheers boss. 😘Being an RAF Bobby, he will be well used to being abused, he knows I'm only having a laugh...
I eventually arrived in Lossie, it had been raining steady since lunch time and didn't stop until the following morning. I had some lunch and was invited to one of the Widows Sons houses for a coffee. I had been offered a bed in Lossie by a lovely couple I'd met at the Remembrance parade last November in Horncastle but sadly my calls and messages went unanswered. I made some enquiries for a visit to the Masonic lodge and I'm so glad I did. I was met and showed round by a former Royal Signals Past Master who had brought along the Provincial Grand Master for this province, I think he said he was ex Royal Scott's. This lodge enjoys a very long tradition of ex armed forces becoming members, indeed once a year they have a meeting where they all dress in their old mess kit. Safety glasses are mandatory when eating to protect one's eyes from buttons firing like bullets from over tight waistcoats and jackets... there's something about old military clothing, it seems to shrink all by itself while hanging in a wardrobe... on a serious note thought, this is the second Lodge I have now visited with the proud honour of having a Victoria Cross recipient in its ranks.
As you can imagine, something the lodge is inceredibly proud of.
I was met and treated to dinner in the evening by a couple of the Widows Sons guys, one of whom had been a professional whiskey brewer. He had brought along a large selection of miniatures for me to pack into my bag, I felt really bad when I told him he'd have to take them all home, I can't touch the stuff, even the smell of it has me turning a weird green colour !!! A misspent youth I think, swigging from my parents drinks cabinet when I probably should have been reading a book or doing my homework !!! 🤢
Just before leaving the lodge, I was informed that my next stop would be RAF Kinloss and apparently, 39 Engineer Regiment are now resident. I had no idea about that but was furnished with the mobile number for the RSM... I walked for some time the next morning before plucking up the courage to make the call... it's not something a lowly corporal does you know, rings the Regimental Sergeant Major and asks if there's any chance of a bed, like he's running a BnB or something, he's a busy man and from memory, one would cross the road if the RSM was approaching, just to make sure he didn't see you and it was common knowledge that you would be sure to regret getting any eye contact with him...
But guess what ?? What could possibly go wrong ??? 😉🍺