After our questionable night in Dundee, we moved south along the coast to St Andrews via the Tetsmuir forest, a quiet beach where the trees meet the North Sea. It turns out it is a hidden paradise for casually spotting wildlife. The forest is pine, heavily scented with a sense of wilderness about its appearance and yet maintained, if this is possible. It’s owned by the Scottish Forestry Commission, hence the maintained feeling you gather as you meander aroumd the single track in the car. Aside from its he forest also has its military past, where during WWII it was as a defence base as it would have been an ideal landing space for German invaders.
At Tetsmuir, I thought I was going to die. As you do. Swimming in the sea and suddenly a black shape was moving towards me in the water, I thought ‘this is it, this is how I die’, naturally I thought it was a shark and started this hilarious backwards run towards the sand, when this shape came right up to me and its face hit the surface for a quick hello. It was a seal. At this point someone on the beach had seen as was calling ‘It’s a seal!’. I had however already committed to running away screaming. It was a beautiful moment really and I hope the seal didn’t judge humanity based on its experience with me.
Afterwards we went for a walk along a local beach to St. Andrews before heading into the town centre for a look around its castle and cathedral. It’s a pretty town if you want to see what a traditional Russell Group University town looks like, after Oxford and Cambridge. The buildings are mostly all made from the same or similar appearing stone, a common theme amongst Russell Group University towns. It always makes me think of the Cotswolds.
We grabbed the barbecue cooking essentials from St Andrews and headed to our camping spot for the night, on a farm in the Lomond Hills Regional Park. Here we went for a walk as the sun came down and watched as midges attacked the car where the engine had been warm. I’m pleased to say our camp went well unlike the attempt around Loch Ness. We woke up to a cold but beautiful clear day to head to Edinburgh, our final stop on the Scotland tour.