With almost an end in sight to my walk around Scotland, I wanted to get at least another 3 days walking in before the month end. I was also slightly concerned with the possibility of a local lockdown in the Borough of Telford & Wrekin due to a sharp spike in covid-19 cases within the last two weeks. Fortunately, the Health Trust was only warning of a possible lockdown, so I managed to get away, although it could still happen over the next few weeks. I wanted to get a full days walking in on the first day of this trip which meant I would have to do all of the travelling through the early hours, so it was very early to bed the night before.
I found a parking spot in Guardbridge, where my walk would end on the first day. I caught the 08:32 #99 bus to Dundee and then the #73 bus onto Monifieth. The forecast for today was not good with light rain and showers all day. In fact the day started off very bright with not a cloud in the sky that was until I stepped off the bus in Monifieth when the rain started! Today I would be starting in Angus and then walking through Dundee City and then crossing the Tay Bridge into Fife.
At Monifieth, I made my down to the banks of the Tay. The far shore of the Tay is dominated by the low lying Tentsmuir Forest and the small town of Tayport. I could see the heavy rain squalls coming up from the south, so I put my waterproofs on. The rain was quite heavy and continued unabated for over two hours. I managed to stay on the cycle/footpath all the way into Dundee, after passing through Balmossie and Brougthy Ferry.
The persistent rain meant I kept my camera dry beneath my walking jacket. By the time I reached Dundee City I was soaked to the skin! I was also worried about high winds which the motorway matrix signs had warned about on the drive up. But the Tay Bridge was only closed to pedestrians should the wind strength reach 60mph! Fortunately, we were not expecting those sort of wind speeds.
Because I stayed quite close to the shore I did not see a lot of Dundee itself, the rain saw to that! I did notice as I walked into Dundee that the Tay Bridge had a noticeable gradient on it, being 32.1m above sea level on the Fife side and 9.75m on the Dundee side. I was looking forward to crossing over the Tay Bridge on foot. It’s quite a unique experience for pedestrian as you are sandwiched between the two dual carriageways on an elevated central walkway, just a few feet from both opposing fast lanes. You can also see that you are walking uphill as well!
By the time I reached the far side I had passed out of Dundee City into The Kingdom of Fife. On the Fife side was a large car park with toilets (closed), Info Point and small take-away cafe which was serving food. I bought a bacon and sausage bap and a latte – they both tasted horrible, but the rain had stopped and the sun was just coming out!
I was now on the Fife Coastal Path and would continue on it until I reached the Forth Road Bridge. I followed the well-marked path into the small town of Tayport or to give it its old name Ferry-Port on Craig, now a commuter settlement for Dundee City.
Soon after Tayport I was heading towards a large forested area called Tentsmuir Forest which is also a large National Nature Reserve. I headed eastwards towards Tentsmuir Point and eventually turned south following the line of the trees. I re-joined the forest road which was quite straight and boring, seeming to go on forever. I passed one of a few ice houses, which were used for preserving the ice for the salmon fishing. Although initially built on the coast in the mid-19th century, the sea had retreated quite a way leaving these ice houses marooned in the forest. I was plagued virtually the whole time walking through the forest by Clegs, Gadflies or Horse-flies. Later that evening I found I had been bitten twice on the face by these little b***ers.
I eventually reached the large public car park, where I managed to buy a can of pop to supplement my water supply. The next 3 miles seemed to drag on forever as I negotiated getting around the large RAF base at Leuchars. I did manage to follow one false trail which lead me deeper into the RAF base, before I realised I was on the wrong path. I was really glad to see Guardbridge arrive as I had been walking for 8 hours and had really under estimated how long this walk would take. I passed the old Eden Mill, which is now partly used as distillery for my favourite Gin tipple of Eden Mills.
A good day’s walk spoiled for the most part by the weather, which did improve in the afternoon. Although the definite highlight was the walk over the Tay Bridge.
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 = 22 miles
Total distance =6,135 miles