The Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) above Bow Fiddle Rock, Portknockie, Moray.


Credit: Kenneth Muir

I always find the return trip seems faster than the outward journey, and it felt like I was soon back at the car.

I didn't carry any food with me on the walk, but I had my lunch box in the car. I drove a short distance, found somewhere to park, and settled down to eat. I found a comfy place where I could look back towards the walk I had just completed.

It was a Perfect Day (you can go and find that song yourself).

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The Road to Nowhere.

After the game, enjoying the view, and resting my feet, it was time to return.

It wasn't a road to nowhere (it took me back to the car), but seeing the endless track reminded me of the song.

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The natives were friendly.

No sooner had I sat down on the bench when this lovely doggie came over to me. She was carrying a stick in her mouth. As she approached me she dropped the stick at my feet. This was an invitation to play. How could I resist?

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We are now getting to the final stage of the walk. We go uphill, cross the glen, and suddenly we can see An Tairbeart and Loch Nibheis before us. On this day it was a lovely view.

Loch Nibheis has a completely different feel, because unlike Loch Mhòrair, it is a sea-loch, with access to the Na h-Eileanan Siar (Hebrides).

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I had initially assumed that the cottage was an isolated dwelling, but I soon discovered the local "big hoose". I suspect the cottage was a former estate worker's house which has now been converted to a holiday letting property.

The big house didn't appear to be occupied either. An absentee landlord? Perhaps.

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This was the first human habitable house I came across. It was at the walk half-way mark. All the other houses were ruins. This building looked like it was a holiday home. Although the cottage was deserted when I took the photo.

The cottage also had a nice view, if you like that sort of thing.

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Although the area is a National Nature Reserve there wasn't an abundance of wildflowers. That might be explained by the presence of sheep on the land. I'm not sure how that squares with it being a NNR.

Some of the plants that had avoided being munched included the Wild Thyme - Lus an Righ - Thymus serpyllum. They do smell exactly like their cultivated relatives.

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Life's a beach.

All along the edge of the loch are lots of lovely shingle beaches. As far as I could tell, there weren't any sandy beaches, although there were sandy areas visible in areas of shallow water.

If you didn't fancy walking the whole route these beaches offered ample opportunities for lazing about.

I also find the noise of water lapping against a stony beach to be intoxicating. Give me shingle over sand any day.

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Loch Mhòrair (Morar) is Scotland's deepest loch, and also home to Mòrag.

However, the loch isn't the largest (by volume) body of water in Scotland. That honour is held by Loch Nis (Ness) which although not as deep, is longer and wider. In fact, there is more freshwater in Loch Nis than all the lakes in England & Wales combined.

Mòrag is Nessie's much less famous relative. Disappointingly, I didn't see Mòrag on my walk along the lochside.

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For most of the walk you are in forest, or surrounded by tall Bracken. If it hadn't been for the bright sunshine, and the firm breeze, I can imagine the Midgies would be horrendous. No such problems, to-day. Getting sun-burned would've been the only risk.

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To-day's walk was along the shore of Loch Mhòrair (starting at Bracorina), and then over the hill to Loch Nibheis, at An Tairbeart. The round-trip is around 18 km or 11 miles.

Although there was a track for the whole distance, it was hard going in some places. The distance felt longer. That said, it was one of the best walks I've done for years. The great weather helped.

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Photographer's secret.

I also took some photos from above the gardens, looking down. However, from this position the empty spaces and dead flowers were much more obvious. Not surprising as it was late September when I took the photos. The photos taken from ground level made the dead flowers much less obvious.

The camera may not lie, but it doesn't always tell the whole truth. 😃

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I was looking for a particular photo of Caisteal an Stalcaire (Castle Stalker) which I drove past to-day. Instead, I came across this forgotten photo of Edzell Castle Gardens. I don't normally like manicured gardens, but this is so bonkers, it is great.

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