We are always saying the best way to see a place is to get out on foot and just get lost. Well, that is exactly what we did in Nairn, Scotland … without even planning on it.
We started our adventure in the most mundane way possible. We didn’t even know we would be going on an adventure (and isn’t that what makes the best ones). Chris and I decided to go take a little walk down to a jetty, but go around to a side that we hadn’t been on before. The walk would only take us about five minutes and we could try for some unique shots of the town and beach from a new angle.
Well, we left our Airbnb cottage rental later in the evening (the sun doesn’t set until about 9:00pm) expecting to get some shots and get back. The air was cool, but the sun was pleasantly warm. It was the perfect weather combination. As we got to the jetty we realized the the tide was low; very low. Chris and I looked at each other and immediately knew what the other was thinking.
We wanted to get to the bridge. You see, there’s a bridge a little while walk down the beach that we spotted a few days ago. The bridge is on the other side of a little “river” that flows from the marsh to the ocean. When we had first visited the spot the water was too high to cross and we couldn’t get to the other side. To add to our wonder, the bridge seemed to lead straight into an enchanting forest. It was like something out of an old fairy tale. The bridge, the beach, and the forest.
So, we made a decision. We would skip our original plan and take the trip to the bridge. Maybe the water would be low enough so that we could cross our river. Or, if the tide was low enough, we could just walk the low tide wet sands the long way around and end up on the other side.
The tide was very low and the sand smushed beneath our feet as we neared the spot where we would be on the other side of the water flow from the marsh. The sun was setting in the sky and we were given amazing views as the weather held out.
We forgot how long the walk down the beach was from our rental because by the time we reached the bridge our Fitbits read that we had walked 20,000 steps this day. Fortunately, we always bring some snacks and water in our packs and there were still plenty of hours of daylight. No fear. Besides, we could always just come back the way we came (and the phone doubles as a flashlight, right?).
We went all the way around the water flow, through low tide, over a path in the marsh, and finally we arrived at our goal. The bridge! We excitedly crossed and entered the forest. As we wandered this beautiful collection of trees we listened to the birds and the waves. Chris pointed out that we were really in the country. There were no sounds of passing cars or planes. We couldn’t even hear any signs of others in the area.
We figured we’d gotten this far, so why turn back now? Besides, the path in the forest was leading back in the direction we had come. Maybe the trail had an exit somewhere near town. So, we decided to continue our journey along the pines.
After a little while and a few breaks for pictures we came to a fence. The path led around the fence and some trees. Around the corner we were greeted with a farm and some cows. The forest had ended, but we still had some walking to do. We walked, talked, and walked some more. The sun was still hanging low in the sky letting us know that we were moving in the direction we wanted. Eventually, the path gave way to a small parking area with a sign and map. It told us that we had actually been walking through a national park called Kingsteps. Outside the park we found that we were thoroughly in the countryside of Scotland, a few miles from our quaint town of Nairn.
From there we continued our trek towards the town and back to cottage.
Though we weren’t in any real danger and knew generally where we were, the adventure was still there. We also had the opportunity to see and experience parts of Scotland we had not seen before. Getting lost and wandering is the best way to experience any new place in your travels.