Walking at Edzell

Mearns 50+ Group members watch the salmon jumping at the Loup's Bridge on their walk to the Rocks of Solitude.
Mearns 50+ Group members watch the salmon jumping at the Loup's Bridge on their walk to the Rocks of Solitude.

If there is one walk that never fails to please us, it’s the one from Edzell to the Rocks of Solitude.

Our latest 50 plus Group walk was this one, and we couldn’t have picked a better day for it. Sunshine, no wind, leaves everywhere, clear waters in the river, salmon leaping and of course the trees all around in their Autumn colours.

From the Moorie in Edzell, our main group of 28 took the path by the river starting near the suspension bridge to end at the main road at the Bridge of Gannochy. Tall beech trees line the pathway beside the river, believed to be planted by prisoners of war from the Napoleonic era. There is some evidence of their presence further down river where they would have stayed, while carrying out this work.

The river bed is interesting as you go up stream, from a wide, reasonably shallow depth, to a much narrower channel with the seams of rocks across the river bed. This forms deep pools which are ideal rest areas for the fish going up to spawn, then moving fast when the water level rises and other conditions are correct.

After the Blue Door, the walkers continued on the path by the river in the grounds of Burn House. Recent signage indicates various pools suitable for anglers, and in the trees there are wooden sculptures of a butterfly and a salmon on the pillar of what would have been a footbridge to allow access to the opposite banks.

Just beyond this we watched salmon leaping on a small waterfall, as there was a fair current flow at this point. It is all so quick, one second a flash of a tail, next gone – no time for a camera shot.

A stop for our lunch break near the Rocks was quite wonderful, having a picnic in November with sunshine through the treetops and the leaves falling gently to the ground. Squirrels too, running up and down the trees kept us amused.

After lunch, we continued on to the deep gorge where the Rocks lie, and the river silently moving down with much deeper levels than before.

At the end of the path near the road to Tarfside and Glen Mark, we turned to walk back through the woods at a higher level than before.

Our next surprise was the Doolie Tower, a stone built Foley, among the trees. Once completed, it had been two or even three stories high, with a variety of shaped windows. The arched window above the doorway still has the wooden frame in place, but many other features have gone. Two round recesses on the buttresses would have contained some insignia on a plaque, maybe a motto or a coat of arms, who knows – and where are they now?

Going down river we saw three kayaks and their occupants, hurtle down to the rapids where they left their craft to check on conditions but we saw them again near the end so they all made it safely back to their vehicles.

Our short walk had been from the Blue Door to the Rocks and back, while the main walkers had gone from Edzell and back. This gives two walks of about 4 miles and seven miles, just about right for this time of the year. Oh, and some of us managed to visit the Tweedie for a quick fly-cup before returning home.

Next week on Tuesday 15th we are doing a new walk from Montrose to Hillside, Rosemount and Kinnaber, returning by the new pathway from Charleton to Montrose. The start point in Montrose is near the ‘Curlie Pond’ and our bus will leave as usual at 10 am from the Burgh Buildings.

Remember to bring your bus pass as the short walk members, may be returning by the service bus OK?

The Hillwalker