Week four of my walking challenge was a mix of severe weather conditions and amazing sights.
We have had some really wild days and a few near to perfect days ideal for walking in the Kingdom of Fife.
The storms that battered the region at the beginning of week four really tested my mettle especially when the majority of my walking this week took place in the early hours of the day and in the evenings and that is when the weather was the wildest.
I enjoy walking in stormy conditions especially along the coast. The wild weather provides some spectacular sights as the coastline is transformed from picture postcard perfection to a display of mother nature’s power.
Of course walking in these conditions could be a miserable affair if it weren’t for the water repellency of my water proof kit and my trusty winter walking boots. I was relieved that I had taken the time during week two to reproof my waterproofs as the shear amount of rain I was subjected to was incredible.
Obviously walking in the dark and the rain requires some extra attention to be spent on personal safety. To improve my visibility I have added a reflective safety vest to my kit list alongside a flashing red light which clips on to my daypack. As most of my walking this week took place in the countryside along dark farm tracks, being as visible as possible was important as it alerted drivers of passing farm machinery and trucks that I was there.
A break in the clouds…
Thursday saw a distinct change in the weather and the Kingdom was treated to a spell of perfect walking weather. The dark skies from the beginning of the week became bright blue and the chilling winds dropped down to a pleasant gentle breeze.
I didn’t want to miss out on this opportunity so I rescheduled my day and headed out on a 15 mile walk along the Fife Coastal Path. The Firth of Forth was incredibly calm and the views over towards the southern shore were remarkable and I could’ve easily forgotten that it is still winter.
As I walked along the coastline I kept my eyes peeled for the pod of humpback whales who have been spotted recently during their visit to the river. Sightings suggest that there may be three or four whales in the pod including two younger humpbacks.
After only a few hours of walking I was treated to a short view of two of these magnificent creatures as they briefly surfaced. I really wish I had thought to have packed my DSLR as the camera on my iPhone just wasn’t up to grabbing a shot of them. Hopefully there will be an opportunity again soon to witness these wonderful marine visitors as they play in the Firth of Forth.
Spring is in the air…
The weather on Friday was equally good for walking and it again enticed me to head out for another 15 miles but this time further inland and through farmland where I began to see evidence of spring starting to make it’s appearance in the form of snowdrops beginning to poke their heads above the ground.
Snowdrops tend to start to appear across Fife in mid-January and I had thought they wouldn’t being to appear until February – March time due to the low temperatures we have been experiencing this winter but obviously this isn’t the case and they are starting to brighten up our woodlands and countryside trails.
Week four lessons
After my failed attempt at capturing a shot of the humpbacks, I have decided to make sure that I keep my DSLR close at hand for the remainder of my challenge. It is important to me to document my challenge so I can share what I find along the way with you and others in the walking community.
Another thing I noticed this week is that the Fife coastline is rich in birdlife and, as I was walking along the coastal path, I realised that I really don’t know too much about our native birds. To resolve this I have decided to learn more about them as I walk using a handy smartphone app produced by the reference book publisher Collins. Having an app with me while out walking should hopefully help me learn more about identifying the various species of birds I spot along the way.
This week has brought some very enjoyable walking and spectacular sights to my challenge despite the blustery winter weather. Week 5 will see me venturing out of Fife and into the Ochil Hills to follow some of my favourite trails over this small but mighty hill range. If you have any questions about this challenge or anything Walk Fife related, then please drop me a email at firstname.lastname@example.org or direct message me through my twitter account @SDMakin.
Catch up with you again next week.