Tuesday 5 May 2015

TGOC 2014 - Day 13: Tarfside to North Water Bridge

Wedneday 21st May 2014

A pleasant walk down Glen Esk, via the Rocks of Solitude and the Blue Door Walk 

Distance: 27.5km; Ascent: 280m; Dry with plenty of sunshine; Mostly Solo

The start and end points of today's walk were pretty familiar to me, having walked between them twice before in 2008 and 2009 (despite not actually having been on my route sheet either year!).  However this year I decided to investigate an alternative route instead of the perfectly pleasant walk down the southern side of the glen.  Angus Council's Core Paths Plan proved to be a useful resource for planning bits of today's and tomorrow's walk, which resulted in me deciding to pick a route between the hills over to Millden.

I set off at 9:15am, initially northwards along the Fungle Road, but after a few hundred metres I came to a signposted track junction and headed towards Millden.  The bulldozed track headed east and was reasonably well signposted every so often.  After a few kilometres I left this bulldozed route and picked up a older, greener track that led me down to the road.

Signposted footpath to Millden from the southern end of the Fungle Road
Looking back to the Hill of Rowan
The track from Tarfside to Millden
Signposts at the half-way point between Tarfside & Millden, with Craig Soales in the background
Looking back west from near Mile Cairn
The Hill of Wirren
Around half a kilometre of tarmac then brought me to the main road through Glen Esk, where I had a break to rehydrate on what was turning out to be a warm day!  I also took the opportunity to change into shorts given I still had a long walk ahead of me.  My original plan had been to backtrack westwards along the road for the best part of a kilometre so as to cross to the other side of the river.  However I decided that I couldn't really be bothered with the extra distance and instead headed straight down the road, which on the plus side was a route I hadn't previously walked!

River North Esk a few km downstream from Millden
Bluebells in Glen Esk
Trees in Glen Esk
An old looking signpost
At around half past midday I reached a old looking signpost for the Rocks of Solitude.  I'd heard that these were worth a visit, so I followed a path down through the woods to reach some rocky outcrops above the river.  It was lovely and sunny here so I stopped to enjoy the warmth of the sun whilst having lunch down near the river.

The Rocks of Solitude
The Rocks of Solitude
The Rocks of Solitude
I was pleased that I'd decided to come this way as the Rocks of Solitude were indeed worth a visit.  After feeling suitably refreshed I continued on a good path through the pleasant beech woods to reach the famous Blue Door.

Heading through The Burn woods
The riverside woodland path
The Blue Door, of walk fame ;)
I'd heard about this Blue Door several times over the last few years from various different people and had decided to include the Blue Door Walk on my route this year.  I was very glad that I had as it had been a really pleasant woodland wander :-).

River North Esk from Gannochy bridge
Crossing the river by way of the road bridge, I picked up a path between the fields and the river down to Edzell where I arrived at the Tuck Inn at around 2pm for a second lunch!

Outside the Tuck Inn
Here I met up with Lynsey, Isabel and Olivia again :-).  I was in no great rush to get to North Water Bridge this afternoon so I spent a good couple of hours in Edzell with them, which included much running around on the grassy Edzell Muir playing with a tennis ball :-).  Eventually it was time for them to head back to Montrose for tea, so I picked up a few supplies in the village shops and left Edzell at around quarter to five.

The Shakin Brig
Looking down the River North Esk from Shakin Brig
I crossed the Shakin Brig with Martin and Andrew, who I spent the rest of the day walking with to North Water Bridge.  We arrived at the campsite at around 6:30pm, to find it overrun with challengers (no surprise there then!).  There then followed a very sociable evening at campsite catching up with lots of other challengers, although it was sad to think that tomorrow would be the last day of this year's TGOC for me!

Ploughed fields near Arnhall

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