With only 12km ahead of me on my final day I should have plenty of time to reach Ethie Haven, enjoy the moment, then catch the bus to Montrose, check into my room at the Park Hotel and relax before dinner. The day did not work out quite as I’d planned.
Walking on minor roads into Inverkeilor I somehow missed a turning so used farm tracks to get back to where I should have been.
There was no need to stop in Inverkeilor; I was nearly at the coast and wanted to keep going. I crossed under the railway line and headed south along the road. I kept going south. Hm? Surely the road should be going south east? Oh b*gger it, I’ve missed my turn…again. I turned round and walked back towards Inverkeilor taking the road to Priestfield.
Nearing Ethie Haven I had a good view of Lunan Bay, the finishing point of my first TGO Challenge in 2006.
There were fingerposts to Ethie Haven via Ethie Mains and via Corbie Knowe. I plumped for the Ethie Mains route so that I could do a circular walk back via Corbie Knowe. My plan was to walk along the Lunan Bay beach after I’d finished, and I did not want to have to reverse my steps if I could avoid it.
I knew that Ethie Haven was nestled in the cliff and would not be very easy to find but I was starting to wonder where on Earth it was until, finally, it came into view.
I hadn’t really properly researched where the Lunan Bay Diner was and I wasn’t sure if I could walk all the way there along the beach so I diverted onto the road at Red Castle. This was a mistake as I could have stayed on the beach which would have been much nicer. I expected that the diner would be full of Challengers but I was the only one, so I ate my dinner and drank my pop on my own.
I’d not bothered to check the bus times in advance as I know that there are loads of buses along the A92. Unfortunately at that time of day they all go South. Bus after bus was going to Arbroath but none were due to go North to Montrose until after 5pm. Oh, b*gger (again). I weighed up my options; wait for a bus, hitch, call a taxi … or walk. Lifting my pack back onto my shoulders I set off along the A92. This was not the highlight of my trip, I can tell you, but I could see Montrose getting nearer and I suppose it’s the purist’s way of completing the Challenge!
Reaching the Park Hotel after 5pm I signed the register and checked into my hotel room. Good friends and many people I’ve hardly spoken to before congratulated me on my Tenth (…. yes, I think Tenth needs a capital letter in these circumstances.) I remember my first finish; gritting my teeth in a false smile and saying “Oh, I’ll see…” when people asked if I’d be back to do my second – but now, here I was finishing my Tenth. I think this TGO Challenge thing has got its hooks into me!