Coastal Walk: Fort George to Carse of Ardersier
Date: Saturday 22nd October 2016
Company: Myself, Becky and Cuillin
Distance: 13km, Ascent: 45m
Time: 3Hrs 15Mins
Yesterday morning, I set out to walk another section of coast between Nairn and Inverness in the company of Becky and Cuillin. I drove to and parked at Fort George.
The coast to the east of Fort George is marked as "Danger Area" on the map as it is used as part of a firing range. Having done some research beforehand, I knew it was ok to walk this section of coast providing the flags were not flying and the lamps were not lit. To get round the outskirts of Fort George it
is also necessary for the tide to be out as the Moray Firth does come right
up to the wall of the fort at high tide.
We arrived at the start circa 45 minutes before low tide. The flags were not flying and the lamps were not lit. Superb!
On attempting to walk through Fort George, we were approached by a young
soldier and advised that we could not progress any further through the
grounds as this is a military site. On asking if it was ok to drop down onto
the shore to skirt around, I was advised that to do so would be fine.
We therefore dropped down onto the shore and made our way round the fort wall.
Once on the shore, we could see a small bank of cloud inversion to the west near Inverness.
Looking along the Moray Firth towards the Kessock Bridge:
Skirting round Fort George:
Two days previous, I spent 2.5 hours dolphin-spotting at Chanonry Point. Chanonry Point is very close to Fort George as the crow flies, or as the dolphin swims, but is a good drive away by road.
Looking across the Moray Firth to Chanonry Point:
Skirting round Fort George:
As we progressed round the fort, we passed three people fishing from the beach.
Looking back towards Chanonry Point:
Despite no flags flying, I was not keen to let Cuillin off the lead until we were further away from the fort. We could hear gunfire albeit it was coming from firing ranges within the grounds of the fort and not from the beach.
Becky and Cuillin:
Walking the length of Fort George:
Once beyond the fort, Cuillin got a good runabout on the sand.
Onto the shore beyond Fort George:
Looking back towards Fort George:
It was my intention today to head as far as Whiteness Head which we could just make out in the distance.
Whiteness Head in the distance:
We passed a rusty box on the shore which I thought from a distance was the rusted remains of a vehicle roof. On closer inspection, I couldn't work out what it had once been.
Rusty box on the shore:
As it was now low tide, the edge of the water was a long way off. The ground here is extremely flat therefore when the tide comes in, I suspect it very quickly covers the whole area. As high tide was still five plus hours off, we had plenty time to walk across the great expanse of sand.
Ripples in the sand:
Come on Becky:
On reaching Whiteness Head, we continued a short distance towards the remains of an old construction yard.
Inlet at Whiteness Head:
Looking across the inlet to Whiteness Head:
After walking circa 7km, I decided we needed to head back. A quick look at the map confirmed that we could take a track and then a road back to Fort George instead of walking back along the coast.
Future section of walk ahead (towards Nairn):
Old construction yard:
On reaching the track which leads through the grounds of Fort George, the sign at the start confirmed that it was ok to use this track providing the flags were not flying.
Walking back through Fort George grounds:
Beyond the track, we walked back along the public road leading to Fort George and on reaching Fort George had a quick look inside the outer walls to see the cannon.
Checking out the cannon in Fort George:
Good to get this Danger Area section of coast completed. Only three fairly short
sections of coast remaining to complete my coastal walk from Aberdeen to Inverness.