LEJOG Day 64 Brora to Helmsdale. 11.37 miles. Cumulative 1155.82 miles.

A fresh start followed by a beautiful sunny day.

Straight out of the back entrance to the campsite and we were on the JOG trail, through a golf course. After the golf course the path ran between the beach and the railway track and was narrow and very rocky in place, which made for difficult walking.

Rocky path

After a while we decided to abandon the path and walk along the beach. The tide was out and the sand firm and we were closer to the wildlife, mainly seals and seabirds although at times the cattle and sheep strayed onto the beach.

There were a few streams to hop across, which didn’t cause any issues, a bit further on there was a 3 metre wide river to negotiate, Lynn chose to cross in her walking boots while Steve took the more sensible option and changed into his trainers and rolled up his trousers, we both used our ‘old person ’ walking sticks for balance.

After the river we had a quick chat with a dog walker who told us minky whales had been spotted just off the coast this morning, which gave us something else to look out for, unfortunately we didn’t spot them.

There was an option to walk all of the way to Helmsdale via the beach at low tide, but after the easy walking sand came a section on pebbles, which was hard going and the guide indicated the final stretch was even trickier underfoot, so we took the high tide option.

The inland option took us over a level crossing, up to the village of Portgower and another climb to cross the top of a valley, it was worth it for some more amazing views, inland and back to the coast.

As we were dropping down to Helmsdale we stopped to chat to a lady who was sat outside her house, whale spotting, she had seen two minky whales 10 minutes earlier, through her telescope. She was a wildlife expert and told us about all of the whales and dolphins to look out for between Helmsdale and JOG and how to identify golden and white eagles. She also told us to look out for adders on the path ahead, not something Lynn wanted to hear about.

As we mentioned yesterday a significant period in the history of Scotland was the Highland clearances and the wholesale displacement of families and communities to other parts of Scotland and the world.

A fitting and moving memorial dominates the village of Helmsdale.

An early finish was welcome after three long days on the trot and we were finished by 1330. After a hearty cafe lunch and dropping our backpacks at the B & B, we went to enjoy an afternoon in the sun sat by the harbour.

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