Group mark special birthdays

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Last month, Mearns 50 plus Group had a Social evening in the Crown Inn, where we caught up with a few birthdays of members who had had special birthdays in 2011.

Two had reached 70, one had made it to 80 and one had reached a magical 90. One more was to reach 80 a couple of weeks later.

The 90 year old was Arthur Bruce, one time shoe and boot repairer and well known for his knowledge of Laurencekirk parish and its inhabitants. Arthur has been a regular walker until fairly recently but a couple of mishaps where he has fallen, have seen him sidelined for the past few months.

The second 80 year old was Bill Lindsay, a founder member of this group which started life as an over 40s group.

Bill, a retired grocer and retail shopkeeper still regularly walks with the 50+ group as well as walking with the Brechin group every Monday.

What Bill started about 40 years ago with a few keen walkers, has now grown to a club with a membership of 100 with more that 60 members participating in the walking side which regularly sees 35 or more out every second Tuesday.

So congratulations to Bill, Arthur, Morag, Betty and Dave and thanks for giving us the opportunity to celebrate with you, around your special birthday dates.

Also thanks to club members, Mavis Cowie for her songs and Lena Fergus for her songs and monologues which had everyone in stitches. You are both great entertainers in your own unique ways.


Our latest walk was back to St Cyrus for another year retracing last year’s walks.

From the car park off Ecclesgreig road we all walked up to the Castle by the drive and through the woodlands. The snowdrops were just about past and the crocuses were showing with lots of daffodils ready to appear in the next couple of weeks.

At the castle the main group of 31 walkers left us to go on a circular walk, by the Wide-Apen downhill to near the entrance to the fish farm, then following the road to the left past the gas pipeline station on to Pitbeadlie and Canterland farms then up to Morphie and back over the hill to return to St. Cyrus, thus circling the Den of Morphie, and completing an eight mile strenuous hike.

The second group spent some time at the castle noting the stonework with its insignia including F.G for Forsyth Grant and also for a plaque with ‘Standfast’ and another with Craigellachie indicating the connection between the two locations in different counties – i.e. Kincardineshire and Banffshire.

A walk to the cemetery took us past the old laundry where sheets and bed linen were washed in a man made ditch in pure clean spring water, possibly tramped on by bare footed laundry maids regardless of the cold temperature of the water.

On leaving the castle grounds we turned up hill and walked up to Woodstone hill where we decided that as we still had time on our hands, we would complete the circuit round the woods, a bit tricky walking here with lots of broken windblown branches lying across the sometimes very muddy paths.

However it was a fine sunny day and it was back downhill nearly all the way passing Ross Agri’s workshops and a caravan park on either side of the road.

On this occasion, we were last back as the main group had completed their hike under the estimated time. Either that or they are all becoming super-fit!

Oh yes, while we had lunch on the lawn in front of the castle at the tables provided, we were entertained by a wee robin who never stopped singing while we were there.

Thanks must also go to Mr Farquhar for allowing us the privilege of walking in and around his grounds. We appreciate this very much.

Our next outing is planned for Tuesday April 5 to Glen Dye on the B974 to walk to the Charr bothy – and beyond – weather permitting.

The bus will leave at 10 am from the Burgh Buildings car park.

The Hillwalker