Monday, 21 May 2012

Scurdie Ness

Monday 21st May

Distance: 4.5km; Ascent: negligible; Dry but often overcast; with Isabel, Mum and Dad

After having left Lynsey to continue her walk up to Lochcallater Lodge yesterday afternoon, Isabel and I drove to Brechin where we met my parents at the cottage we will be staying at for the rest of the week.  This morning we headed into Montrose to drop a few things off at TGO Challenge Control, at the Park Hotel, and to say hello to John, Steph and Jack.  It was very strange being in Challenge Control when it was so empty and quiet; all my previous visits have been on the 2nd Thursday of the Challenge when it's usually packed full of challengers having just finished!

A short drive brought us to the beach front car park in Montrose where we had a picnic lunch in the car, whilst admiring the views across the bay.  Unfortunately it was pretty much high tide so we weren't able to go down onto the beach, but I'm sure we will before the end of the week.

Scurdie Ness from the north
A pushchair walk was in order for this afternoon so that Isabel would be able to have a nap.  Having previously finished the TGO Challenge at Scurdie Ness back in 2009, I reckoned that we'd be able to manage an hour or two's walk with the ATP.  Therefore we drove around to the old fishing village of Ferryden, so called because it was the location of an ancient ferry crossing over the river South Esk.  We parked in the small free carpark near the far end of the village and began our walk soon after 1:30pm.

Scurdie Ness lighthouse
We began by following Rossie/Beacon Terrace eastwards out of the village to the end of the public road.  Here a surfaced private road continued above the small cliffs, with good views onwards to Scurdie Ness lighthouse and back towards Montrose.

Looking back towards Montrose from Scurdie Ness
There were many birds on the estuary, although most of them were too far away to see reliably without binoculars; however we did get to see quite a few eider ducks relatively close up.

An Eider Duck
Soon we reached the lighthouse at the end of the Scurdie Ness headland, which was also the end of the private road.  According to the information sign, the lighthouse is 39m tall, was designed and built by David and Thomas Stevenson, and became operational in 1870; however it has been operating automatically since 1987.

Scurdie Ness Lighthouse
As well as the lighthouse, there is another landmark of importance at Scurdie Ness, especially for TGO Challengers!  It is the TGO Challenge cairn that was erected here on the 25th anniversary of the Challenge back in May 2005, and it is here that Lynsey & I finished our 2009 route.

TGO Challenge cairn at Scurdie Ness
The grassy footpath beyond the lighthouse was signed to Mains of Usan, and it looked to easily be achievable with an ATP, so we continued on around the headland.  We took it in turns to scramble down the rocks to get a better view of a couple of rafts of eider ducks and to have a look at some of the interesting rocks on the headland.

Looking south from Scurdie Ness
However it soon became clear that the onward route would cross several muddy sections on the way to Mains of Usan, which whilst they would probably be crossable with an ATP we decided that due to lack of time it would probably be better to return the way we came.  As we started to head back to Ferryden, a large ship started to leave Montrose harbour as it was now pretty much high tide.  After a pleasant walk back to Ferryden, we reached the car at around 3:15pm and headed back into Montrose to adjourn to a tearoom :)

A large ship leaving Montrose

N.B. 30/10/12 - Post date updated to actual date of walk, i.e. 21/05/12, (from 27/05/12)

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