Walking Group explore Arbuthnott

Grassic Gibbon Centre adjoins the Arbuthnott Hall
Grassic Gibbon Centre adjoins the Arbuthnott Hall

Two weeks ago we were walking in the Fetteresso Forest in brilliant sunshine with great views over the hills.

At the start of the walk we could hear and see many birds, but one in particular we thought was a chiff-chaff. The same bird followed us on our walk to Hurlie Bog and back with its familiar sound moving as it did from tree to tree.

A few photographs captured the bird, but nothing clear enough, so a quick flick on the iPad on return home, brought up it’s image and also its sound, alongside the willow warbler which looks similar, but sounds completely different. Wonderful thing this new technology isn’t it?

This week’s walk started at the Grassic Gibbon Centre, but with a lot of mist hanging over us coming in from the sea. We went down to the church and spent some time there as this was new territory for many of our group.

There is lots to see and read about in the Church of St. Ternan, which also has connections with Banchory and Deeside.

Having viewed the headstones relating to Lewis Grassic Gibbon, who was of course Leslie Mitchell, we carried on past the manse and downhill to the Bervie Water passing the ruins of an old mill and associated buildings to the small wooden footbridge next to a ford.

To our right in the field was a large mound of earth, reputed to be covering a ship from the Viking era. Who knows it may well be true.

The main group of walkers then crossed the bridge – two at a time – and followed a track which leads to a disused derelict croft, once occupied by the Mutch family.

Their son Pat, spent many years in Laurencekirk as Hall Keeper of the St. Laurence Hall, a fireman and council worker, who died fairly recently at a fair age.

Continuing uphill through woodland and by the edge of fields, they arrived at Banff Farm which is on the Banff Hill overlooking the Arbuthnott estate offices and the main Arbuthnott house and gardens – now closed to the public. Their return route, after their lunch, was to follow the tarred road then downhill to Whitefield and across the bridge over the Bervie water.

A right turn led on to an estate road taking the walkers back by the estate office near the Stovies plant that produces fuel for wood burning stoves, finishing at the start point a short distance from the Lodge House on to the A967 road.

Meanwhile, our short walk members having viewed the Bervie Water, returned to the Manse and turned right. This was quite steep for a short distance where some curious cattle in the field above accompanied us as we walked uphill.

Past Kirkton Farm and we were then surrounded by this year’s new crops of cereal and bright yellow flowers of the rape seed plant.

A left turn on to the A967 and we were soon back to the centre, passing the school where Leslie Mitchell attended for his education in his early years.

The two walks finished with a fine tea and scones at the centre, provided by Mrs. Williamson and her assistant. And there is also a small museum to visit at the site.

Although the mist never cleared, we had managed both walks of five and three miles respectively in dry conditions, which seemed to have pleased our club members as they departed happily for home.

Ferryden is the venue for our next outing on May 13.