50 plus Group enjoy their outing

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MEARNS 50+ Group re-visited St Vigeans for their latest walk. It was a dry day, but with a blustery wind which was quite strong at times.

Thirty of our walkers had turned out, and they congratuled our walk leader and his wife who had just celebrated their Golden Wedding. He also had a birthday too. Well done to David and Kathleen.

The river Brothock powered many mills in Arbroath and provided clean water too, and it was beside this burn that we walked.

The path leads from the car park – indeed the road from one of the car parks crosses a bridge which is now off-route for motorists with bollards on it but still allowing cyclists, pedestrians and wheeled access for disabled users.

Crossing the burn on a wooden bridge just before the cemetery, we continued along the old railway trackbed which once carried the trains from Brechin, Friockheim and Letham Grange to Arbroath. Slightly uphill from this path is the main East Coast line with modern day rolling stock.

About a mile along we saw a heron on the river bank and I noticed all the seagulls were huddled round a pond in a field. Too windy for them to fly.

The old Letham Mill is now converted to a private residence but still has a water wheel at one side, now only for ornamental purposes.

Continuing on, we saw a collection of pheasants and hens in a garden, the pheasants resplendent in gold, red and green plumage. Two of the hens had feathery feet, I believe they are originally from East Asia, maybe Brahmaputra’s which are now very rare in this country.

We stopped for lunch at the old Letham Grange railway station, where our walk trail ends. Houses built on the railway line beyond there prevent further walking on this route.

Our main group had just finished lunch and decided to return by the same path. As we were feeding, one lady remarked that the earth was moving under her feet and it was true. A tall tree beside her was moving a few inches from the wall she was sitting on, so we decided with the wind strength, to move away from it.

On our return journey a red squirrel appeared and kept us amused while it ran up and down a tree, disappearing and re-appearing behind the trunk. I thought he’d be better safely tucked up in his dray by this time of year and the temperature so low.

On return our main group had tried out some of the various signposted walk ways in the area. Maybe we will return in better, longer days to check them all out. One leads to Hercules Den but who or what was Hercules – maybe someone can tell me.

The church at St Vigeans which sits perched on a tall mound was being stripped of its wooden pews as we left. Let’s hope they find new homes in the area as they looked like good, solid wood. Who knows, they might turn up on one of the television antique shows one day.

The village itself is quiet in the wintertime, but worth a visit in the summer, if only to see the original Pictish stones housed there and open to the public at specific times. Also note – no gutters on the roofs, only a short board above the doorways to prevent a soaking on entering or leaving the house.

Our next walk is on Tuesday 27th December, starting from the Burgh Buildings car park. It will be local as we have no MCT bus booked out.

Do let’s have a good turnout to blow away the cobwebs and get some good exercise after the Christmas feasting has passed. It will also get you fit for the next celebration – Hogmanay and the New Year.

And if you can’t manage that walk, we have one on January 10 at Lunan Bay. Just the thing to start off 2012.

So have a good Christmas and all the best for the New Year.