The Deer Runner

The Deer Runner

Sunday, 14 June 2015

North Sea Trail Ultra

I took a while to recover from the DC110, a numb and tingly right leg needed some time off running.  Coach lined up some DIY jobs, taking advantage of my lull in running.  After doing a bit of joinery and plaster boarding I needed to get back out there, nice and easy at first before running some distance.

My 2015 in 2015 took a bit of a hit in May where I dropped below the monthly average for the first time.  With no ultra races on the horizon I had to make up my own, The North Sea Ultra.

I've posted a run from Cruden Bay to Peterhead in the past, this time I wanted to follow the Nave Nortrail coastal path from Peterhead to Aberdeen.  This would show off the beauty of the east coast perfectly.  The weather wasn't too great, pretty dull and overcast with patches of light rain.

Saturday 13th June 0940 hours, The Lido at Peterhead where one runner turned up for the exclusive North Sea Trail Ultra.

The route passes the prison and reaches the coast within 1 mile.

The first of three sandy bays on this ultra.

The route passes through quaint fishing villages.

Boddam lighthouse and castle ruin.

It's not long before I'm up on high cliffs,  Erosion is a problem on these paths with steep drops to rocks below.

There are some marker posts but they are old and not in good nick.

The track is varied as it winds it's way across the cliff tops.

I love the layout of the land, with wooden steps and rope handrails.

It's nesting season, the bird life is spectacular, birds dive and swoop to protect their young.

The cliff tops are littered with hundreds of broken seagull shells, the crows have had a feast.

Plenty of caves can be seen, accessed only by sea.

Longhaven quarry, deep and dangerous water.

Slains castle comes into view.

Another steep drop at the path edge, I walk these sections.

Even on a dull day, the flora and views are spectacular.

The famous Bullers of Buchan.

The haunting cliff top ruin of Slains Castle.

Cruden Bay, 12 miles in.  Time for a nutritious shake and boiled egg.

Cruden Bay, the second of three sandy beaches.

The cliff top path to Whinnyfold is narrow with steep drops.  Sheep and lambs are here and threaten to jump off when I approach.  Not wishing to cause carnage, I have no choice but enter the field to Whinnyfold which cuts off around half a mile of coastline.

It's a road section from Whinnyfold to Collieston.  There is an old castle ruin on the coast before Collieston but I need to pass through a farm to reach the coast. Not wanting to have a run in with farmers or dogs I just continue along the road to Collieston.

Another quaint village with an ice cream shop.  No cones for me today as I pass through on my way to Newburgh.

Forvie Nature reserve, a magical spot for wild life.

Hackley Bay, a lovely remote piece of paradise, the trail skirts round the cliff top.

I follow the path inland, Forvie sands has a no go area during the summer to protect nesting birds.  I need to cross the Ythan on the road bridge which is a wee bit inland.

Ythan estuary from the road bridge, the tide is in.

After 23 miles I'm dehydrated and have no energy,  A shake and boiled egg have not been enough.  I sit on a bench and have my lunch before heading to the shop.
I buy water and a litre of chocolate milk before heading off.

Ythan estuary meets the North Sea.  Hundreds of seals are basking at the other side of the river.  Their ghost sounds are haunting.

The third sandy bay run of this ultra, a full eight miles all the way to Bridge of Don.  On a clear day, Aberdeen can be seen in the distance.

Eight miles of sloping sand plays havoc on the joints.  The sand is soft in some places which saps the energy.  The city can be seen but doesn't seem to get closer.

The finish line of this ultra can be seen about six miles away, it's Aberdeen harbour tower.

Bridge of Don, heavy rain starts.  I phone Coach asking for a lift from the finish. In land once again to cross the river Don at the road bridge.

Aberdeen Bay, almost done.  My Suunto battery runs out at 34.5 miles.

The harbour tower and finish line, approximately 36 miles from Peterhead.
A spectacular and diverse ultra run with great scenery, I'll be back next year.

Week ending 31st May - 0 miles.
Week ending 07th June - Mon 4, Sun 6.  Weekly total 10 miles.
Mon 4, Thurs 5, Sat 36.  Weekly total 45 miles.


  1. What a great route - I must do this some time, there's really no excuse!

  2. That looks absolutely stunning George, can only imagine what is might be like in better weather. Nice to see you again at the WHWR, see you at another race sometime soon...