Darren and I agreed a meeting time last night, and I’m there a few moments early as Darren is walking over from his camp spot. That worked well.
We cross the Cowie and head south to Hill of Quithel. As we go, and come into phone signal range, I’m messaging Brian. Brian had been stalking me pre-Challenge and seized upon the fact that my route goes through the Feteresso. He’d sent me a message while we were in the Black Hole on Day 1 to point out the guide he’s written and to extend an open invite to drop in at his house if passing.
I hadn’t picked the message up until we got to Corryhully on Day 2, but responded positively then and thought no more of it. Day 2 was far too early to be making such arrangements.
Now though, we are not only in the Feteresso but actually heading his way, a change to our planned exit to the east. I message him and let him know we will be going his way. He repeats the invitation. I say we will, and it will be quite soon.
Within half an hour we’re in his kitchen sipping tea, eating toast and exchanging stories. Thanks Brian.
We do have a walk to finish though. The lane eastwards is pleasant enough, at least until we have to turn south and do a bit of descent and reascent.
It’s this reascent that brings us within sight of the sea. We know we’re going to make it now – a fact that seemed far less likely a couple of weeks ago.
Some workmen are doing something to the road as we approach the point where we need to cross the A90, but bizarrely they pack up and clear away as we approach. Surely we don’t smell THAT bad.
We cross the A90 and then we can see Stonehaven, and know we are close.
Then we’re there. All that remains is a steep descent to the beach.
We approach the water, trying to manage it so we dip our feet at the same time.
Then we’re in the North Sea, and my 4th, and Darren’s 7th Challenge is done.
We climb back up to the car park and grab some lunch from the burger van/shack thing.
The bus stop is a little way down the A92. We ‘ve timed it reasonably. Soon we’re looking out over the east coast of Scotland on our way to Montrose to sign-out.
Parcels, certificates, mugs, badges and t-shirts are collected. Then it’s time to check-in to the Park Hotel and wash off two weeks of dirt.