Today was going to be a bit of a pain,mainly because three rivers, a couple of gorges and the railway blocked my coastal route, this meant diverting inland along a selection of roads. I drove to the small car park above the cliffs at St. Cyrus, just after the sun had risen and parked in the same spot as yesterday. This meant I would be walking towards a point where I needed to catch a bus back to my car.There were already 3 cars in the tiny car park, which appeared to have been there overnight; three tents on the beach far below me confirmed this.
I set off just after 6, dropping steeply down to the shoreline and extensive dune system. I followed a well-worn path over springy grass through the St. Cyrus National Nature Reserve. The cliff line above was the Heughs of St. Cyrus and was quite impressive. I soon came to an old graveyard not shown on the map, I had a quick look around for old headstones, but these were mainly mid-19th century. I arrived at the Visitor centre and car park for the Reserve which then led onto the public road. I followed the public road heading inland because of the North Esk River. Although it is possible to cross the river at low tide on the shoreline, it was high tide with no chance of wading across. The viaduct that I crossed over the river on was the old railway route which I walked along yesterday from Inverbervie.
I followed the route of the old railway through woodlands and playing fields until I reached the outskirts of Montrose. I avoided the town centre keeping towards the Links of Montrose, before turning when I hit the docks area of the town. Near the bridge over the South Esk River I read the story and admired the statue of Bamse, a Norwegian Naval dog, a much loved and well known animal that has his own burial plot in Montrose.
I crossed over the South Esk Bridge and could see that the tide was racing out from immense Montrose Basin, which fills with high tide and empties at low tide. I headed along the south bank of the South Esk through the old fishing village of Ferryden. At the end of the public road I continued on a good track on to the lighthouse at Scurdie Ness, another of the Stevenson’s lighthouses. I rounded the lighthouse and followed the shoreline towards Mains of Usan, here I passed by the ruins of the old farmhouse. I followed the shoreline towards Usan itself. The village sits at the end of a quiet road and comprises a set of cottages and houses. The main feature of the village is George Keith’s Fisherton of Usan, a set of 28 ruined cottages and a three story tower used for shipping navigation, and now used by the Scottish Wild Salmon Company. Basically the site looked more like a scrapyard than any form of fishery. I headed south around fields of barley, until I reached Elephant Rock. This double arched rock feature certainly looks like an elephant from certain angles, although my photograph does not show it so well. Perched high above the rock lies a small graveyard from the early to mid-19th century. Its claim to fame is the inscription on one of the headstones for a Mr George Ramsey who according to the wording was born 19 years after he died. [I did not locate the stone at the time as I was not aware of this mistake].
I followed an excellent wide path along the cliff-top towards the hamlet of Boddin, where I was able to look down on the large limekiln ruins dating from the 1700’s as well as an old ruined fishing station. At this point the railway made an appearance and would hug the coastline over two precipitous ravines and pinching out any land to walk along.
I headed inland following the road around Dunnidald castle and then onto Lunan. The view down and over Lunan beach was amazing and I knew the roads would be very busy with people getting onto the beach. In fact, although busy the road was not too bad. At Lunan I made a small detour to climb up to the ruins of Lunan Castle. Not a lot remains of the castle apart from parts of the Keep and a wall. Constructed from Old Red Sandstone the Castle does command an impressive view down to Lunan Bay. From Redcastle I followed the road into Inverkeilor where I would catch the bus back to St. Cyrus.
All in all quite an interesting day even with the road walking.
NB: I also publish all my Scottish Blog entries on the excellent Scottish Hills website, I use the same narrative, but larger photos and a few extra ones. They can be found here:
Distance today = 18 miles
Total distance =6,093 miles