Often when we plan and look forward to things, life has a habit of turning up the unexpected. Just like the changeable weather in Scotland we have to adapt and accommodate changes or life can become a washout. My plans had already changed as originally I had planned to go the wild camp holiday with my American friend, but at the last moment she had to cancel do to unforeseen problems at her end.
I adapted by deciding to go into the wilderness myself rather than mope around the house. I left early on the Saturday morning. The car was loaded with everything to survive two weeks in the wilderness. I had included the kitchen sink. I left home full of excitement at my challenge of survival, I was not concerned where I was going, as long as it was Northwards.
After two hours of driving the A9 which is the main road artery to the north, I arrived at Inverness. The sun was shining but the wind was very strong, in fact it was the predicted gale force winds. On impulse, I decided to take a trip down memory lane and head for Fortrose and Rosemarkie on the Black Isle.
When we lived in Dingwall, my father was a keen member of Chanonry Sailing Club and learned to sail his C fly dinghy there. He was very much in my thoughts as I visited the sailing club. It looked far smaller than I remembered but I guess when you are a youngster, everything looks bigger.
It surprised me that the beach was so steep as I remember learning to swim there.
I could have quickly got out of my depth ?
I have many happy childhood memories Fortrose. We returned there for years at summer holiday time, to stay in a caravan on the Chanonry point camp site. I took a walk along shore and watched the waves crash onto the smooth pebbled beach. I loved hearing the soothing noise of the pebbles rumbling around in the receding waves. I recalled falling to sleep in the caravan and listening to the same noise. It seems like an eternity ago.
I continued along the shore to the lighthouse. I knew the waves would be quieter on the Rosemarkie side of the point. Its also a good place to hopefully see the dolphins that often play in the currents off the point.
I scanned the sea looking for signs of fishy life and recalled times from childhood when we sailed round the point in my dad’s dinghy. We often saw the dolphins then. All I could see today was Fort George on the far side. It looked a lot closer than I remembered.
I was loosing hope of seeing the dolphins and wondered if they had moved on. Then my patience was rewarded as a pod of around six appeared. They played off shore for around ten minutes before heading back out to sea. My day was made and it was not yet noon.
Looking along the sandy beach towards Rosmarkie my memory proved correct. The water was much calmer in the off shore wind. I decided to walk along the beach as far as I could go.
Although the waves were quiet, the wind was blowing mini sandstorms in the faces of the oyster catchers searching the waterline for lunch
I passed Rosmarkie village and continued along the shore heading for the cliffs on the Black Isle. We often walked that way as kids.
As I walked, I recalled playing in the sand and swimming in the sea. As a youngster I never noticed how cold the water was. Perhaps it was a lot warmer then and we are in a global cooling period instead of a global warming? But then, the days seemed a lot sunnies and warmer then too ? It's funny how our memories seem to prefer recalling the better days.
I recalled how vivid orange and black the rocks from my memory of them as a kid and was pleased to see that I could remember colours better than temperatures.
I had a another “flash from the past” when I saw the old cave. I had forgotten all about it until I saw it. Then another piece fitted in place in my memory’s jigsaw of Rosmarkie.
All to soon my walk and memories were stopped by the reality of the sea cliffs and the high tide.
It was time to walk back to Fortrose. I passed the old abbey on my return to collect the car. Then I started to head northwards again. I was now looking forward to the future journey, having recalled some of my past.