My dad was through to stay for a couple of weeks in September. We have been blessed, after one of the worst summers I can remember, with one of the loveliest autumns I can remember, and most of the two weeks he was here was in glorious sunshine. My dad is no hillwalker but he is a keen birdwatcher and we had some lovely low-level walks while he was here to try and spot some, in Glen Quoich and Abernethy Forest. We decided on his last weekend to go north and east towards the Ythan Estuary and Forvie Sands National Nature Reserve, which is a famous area for birdwatching in Aberdeenshire.
We parked in the carpark just after the bridge over the River Ythan, north of Newburgh. There are waymarked trails around here, so we followed the path out and turned left, across the dune system of Forvie Sands in the direction of the village of Collieston.
We watched loads of cormorants in flight and resting on the rocks along the shoreline, and also a kestrel hovering on the wing. Apart from that though, bird sightings were very lacking. I always like the idea of bird watching but get impatient after five minutes and want to move on, but it was also very quiet, being out of prime birding season.
The strong easterly was whipping up the sea water and we spent some time watching it crash and gurgle around the rocks. I noticed there was a fair bit of sea foam. It reminded me of when the Aberdeen shoreline hit the headlines a few years ago for being completely covered in it.
We reached the beautiful hidden Hackley Bay and walked around and above it, rather than taking the steep steps down.
Aberdeenshire has a stunning coastline that stretches for miles, and includes many famed ruined castles such as the incredibly-situated Dunnotar Castle, and Slains Castle that is reputed to have inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Hackley Bay would be a fine sheltered spot with a westerly wind. Today though was a brisk easterly.
We realised Collieston was a few kms away still, and with the prospect of no café to look forward to when we reached it, we turned back towards the bonnie Forvie Sands and walked down along the shore.
We then turned into the moonscape of dunes so we could meet the connecting path from the Ythan Estuary.
This was pathless and a bit rough and I felt bad for dragging my dad along here, but he was fine about it and remained cheerful. We eventually intersected the path that led back to the carpark.
I am definitely a mountain and rivers girl, and the sea generally bores me unless I am looking at it from a mountain top, but it was nice to see the coastline for a change (as well as spend some time with my dad), and the Aberdeenshire coastline is always stunning and full of interest.