The first dry day for a while, with a few sunny spells.
We are primarily using the ‘John O’ Groats Trail’ for the remainder of the walk. This new coastal route joining Inverness to JOG has been developed since we did JOGLE in 2016 and is still a work in progress, but we hope it will avoid too much walking along the A9.
Today was a good start, the trail was well marked and mostly easy to follow, although it was boggy in places, which upset Lynn, as her new boots no longer look shiny and new.
On leaving Inverness and our first obstacle was the Kessock Bridge which took us over the Beauly Firth. The cycle path on the east side of the bridge was closed, with a diversion in place, fortunately we had found a ‘user report’ which gave us a short cut to the path on the west side, which did mean crawling under a fence and climbing a steep bank. Once on the bridge we had some good views of the Firth, but didn’t spot any dolphins which sometimes make a visit.
After the bridge we found our first signs for the path, which took us through forest with views back to Inverness. We passed numerous Christmas Tree farms before reaching the shoreline of Mulochy Bay and a very wet section of path. The aforementioned ‘user report’ from 2019 warned about a dead sheep and tricky stile, both were still there and required a muddy diversion.
We passed Clootie Well which is a holy well where strips of cloth are tied to trees as part of a healing ritual.
Thereafter, the route followed minor roads and good forest tracks to Culbokie and shortly after the Cromarty Firth Bridge, just over a kilometre in length.
Our final obstacle of the day was a ‘private level crossing’, which can apparently be used by anyone walking the trail, but it did mean climbing over two locked gates.
A final section on minor roads took us to our accommodation at Evanton, a camping pod which we had used on JOGLE, which was cheaper than a camping pitch!