moray coast, scotland - 'all four seasons in one day'

Somewhere in the midst of finishing up my master's thesis, planning a wedding in a foreign language, applying for jobs, cramming for final exams, and failing  miserably at learning German, I got fed up and booked a last-minute solo flight to Scotland.

The plan was to hole up in a little cabin in the middle of nowhere, hike and run all day, and work on my thesis all night. I arrived, gobsmacked, to a coast peppered with moody cliffs, overfull of bright yellow blooming flowers, dramatic skies and furious cerulean seas.

Moray Coast Trail, Scotland UK

I flew to London, got on a rickety plane to Inverness, took the bus to Elgin, and hitched a ride to the incredibly tiny town of Hopeman. My home base for the week was steps from the 70km Moray Coast Trail.

Hopeman Beach Huts, Moray, Scotland UK
Beach huts in Hopeman.

Moray Coast, Scotland UK

Moray Coast, Scotland UK

Moray, Scotland UK

A fond memory from this trip was taking 'the long way' down a farm road; the older animals stood extremely still and watched me, but the young calves ran along the fence next to me. I was still laughing moments later when I found myself running parallel to a pack of wild hares. Countryside magic.

Moray Coast, Scotland UK

Moray Coast, Scotland UK
A lovely place to pitch a tent. I never could gather the courage to explore those caves out by the firth.

Moray Coast, Scotland UK

Moray Coast, Scotland UK

Moray Coast, Scotland UK

The Moray Coast Trail from Hopeman to Burghead is wide, 'paved' and cleared. Though excellent for speedwork, I usually chose instead to hop down to the coast to run along single-track dirt trail.

Moray Coast, Scotland UK

Moray Coast, Scotland UK

Beach huts in Hopeman, Moray UK

Burghead, Moray Coast, Scotland UK

Moray Coast, UK

Hopeman, Moray Coast Trail, Scotland UK

Hopeman, Moray Coast Trail, Scotland UK

Beach near Covesea, Moray Coast, Scotland UK
From Covesea to Lossiemouth, the trail spills out onto the beach. At high tide you can cut through the dunes.

Beach huts in Hopeman, Moray Scotland

Beach huts in Hopeman, Moray Scotland

Moray Coast, Scotland UK


Hopeman, Moray Coast Trail, Scotland UK
Approaching Hopeman from Covesea.

Wild Running Moray Coast Trail, Scotland

Moray Coast Trail, Scotland UK

Moray Coast Trail, Scotland UK

Moray Coast Trail bridge, Lossiemouth, Scotland
The bridge in Lossiemouth.

Wild flowers along the Moray Coast Trail, Scotland UK

Moray Coast, Scotland


Running in Roseisle Forest, Moray, UK
Roseisle Forest, a nice escape and change of scenery from the wind-battered coast.

Yellow flowers along the Moray Coast Trail, Scotland UK

Moray Coast, Scotland

Beach in Moray, Scotland

Wild running in Hopeman, Moray Coast Trail, Scotland

Moray Coast Trail, Scotland

Port in Lossiemouth, Scotland

Bridge in Lossiemouth, Scotland

WWII memorial in Burghead, Scotland
Anti-tank blocks along the beach in Burghead, leftover from the Second World War.

Burghead Bay.

Moray Coast, Scotland UK

Moray Coast, Scotland UK
 
Moray Coast, Scotland UK


Moray Coast, Scotland UK



Wild Running UK, Moray Coast Trail

Wild Running UK, Moray Coast Trail

It was a good week. I finished my thesis (on tax inversions) and a semester paper (taxation of national and foreign professional athletes in the US), ran 160km, got to know every damn dip and pothole and 90-degree uphill climb along the Moray Coast from Findhorn to Lossiemouth, got a tattoo in Elgin ("what in God's name are you doing in Elgin? why the hell are you here? of all the places you could've gone! Edinburgh!"), experienced hail and blistering sun and ice cold winds and melting heat waves and pouring rain -- sometimes all in a span of hours (as one old man said to another on the bus: "all four seasons in one day"), drank the best gin & tonic I've ever had, and made a mental promise to return as soon as humanly possible.

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