“A gey dreich morning” would be an apt description of the weather early on Tuesday,February 4; however the forecast promised better.
By about 10am it turned out that way and 16 walkers from the Mearns 50+ group set out from the Leisure Centre car-park in Stonehaven.
Our destination was the Skatie shore which is reputedly where the Highland Boundary Fault line begins on the east coast of Scotland. During my schooldays, we were taught that the other end of this fault was at Helensburgh in the west, but now Arran seems to be the accepted end (on land, that is).
From the car-park, we set off to Cowie village, where we turned left up Amy Row, at the end of which a short footpath led us up to the old road into Stonehaven. Here we headed north, on a narrow pavement, towards the entrance to the Golf Club, then under the railway bridge and past the car-park on the left.
Soon a small laminated sign directed us on to a narrow footpath into the woods on the right. Here the path was very wet and muddy; not at all suitable for ordinary footwear. A set of wooden steps took us down a level then we went under the railway viaduct as shown in Stewart Craig’s photograph, and from there to Skatie Shore.
Here, Doug Ruxton, one of the walkers, produced a photo taken more than 75 years ago, showing him with his brothers and others at the shore. (Doug is the cheerful one, third from the right.) Chris Milne was on hand with her camera to record the spot today, and if you look at the rock formations on the right of both pictures, you can see that they do look very similar.
Lunch was eaten in the shadow of the large rock formation that is Garron Point, and we were watched throughout by a heron in some rocks.
Our route back was via the edge of the golf course and we had quite a scramble to get up to that level. Fortunately the course was very quiet; this way would not be advisable on a sunny weekend!
At the edge of the golf course and at the edge of the cliffs, there is the old Cowie churchyard with the Chapel of Our Lady of the Storms. It seems to have quite an interesting history, too long to go into here, but look up “Cowie Churchyard” on the Interent.
A wide grass path, edged with snowdrops, led us back on to the old road into Stonehaven and thence back to the car-park where some of us concluded the walk.
Most of the walkers however, continued through the town as far as Bridgend where they turned left and on to the board walk.
Dave, the walk leader commented that when he had been along the sea front at the weekend, the path was covered with stones, but someone had done a good job of clearing it because by Tuesday it was greatly improved.
Total distance covered was about five miles.
The next walk will be on Tuesday, Febuary 18, around part of the Montrose Basin. Parking will be at the Bridge of Dun station car-park.
As usual, the minibus will leave the Burgh Buildings in Laurencekirk at 10am.