Many years ago on a business trip to Arbroath I had taken an evening walk north from Arbroath along the coast and was impressed by an array of geological features. At the time I decided that I would come back on a fine day and walk this section of coast at my leisure.
On a family holiday last year we just so happened to be staying a few miles inland which gave me the opportunity of an afternoon walk from Arbroath along this section of coast as far as Auchmithie before I needed to head inland to follow a series of paths, lanes and tracks back to where we were staying. The walk I measured was around eleven miles which starting out after lunch would take to early evening to finish.
I had waited all week for a sunny day on the coast which had been plagued by coastal fog almost all of the time and this being the last day the sun was making a half hearted appearance. The morning had been spent in Arbroath with an interesting hour exploring the impressive ruins of Arbroath Abbey. Founded in 1178, the abbey which was constructed of local red sandstone was in its day the richest in Scotland. In 1950 the Stone of Destiny was stolen from Westminster Abbey and turned up at Arbroath Abbey in 1951. High on the south transept is a large round window which is locally known as the ‘Round O’ and this was originally lit up at night as a beacon to aid mariners. With an early lunch in the Corn Exchange Wetherspoons then a visit to the Signal Tower Museum which depicts the building and history of the Bell Rock Lighthouse, which lies some eleven miles offshore I was ready for an afternoon walk.
From Arbroath I set off along the foreshore soon passing the town football club at Gayfield Park, famous insomuch of scoring the highest number of goals against an opponent in a senior football match against Aberdeen Bon Accord in 1885 with a mind blowing score of 36-0.
Next I reached the attractive harbour which would have made a good location if only the sun had been shining. The lifeboat was just leaving on a training session. The harbour area is famous for the Arbroath Smokie, a haddock, smoked over wood and the aroma was very much in the air as I passed several fishmongers. Leaving the town I followed the promenade by Victoria Park before joining the good cliff path beyond. This stretch of coast has all the geological features one could wish for and forms a Geodiversity Trail and this includes arches, stacks, wave cut platforms, blowholes, gloups and caves. I had picked up an excellent leaflet explaining each feature and I now took my time pausing at many of the formations. First of note was Needle E’e, a sandstone rock arch, which was followed by The Blowhole, Dickmont’s Den and the Deil’s Head, a rock stack. Beyond, Maiden Castle was a promontory fort from the Iron Age. I soon descended to rocky Carlingheugh Bay and explored one of the sea arches. Progress along the beach was slow due to the large pebbles and at the far end I ascended to regain the good coastal path. There were more geological features of note had I had the time to explore but it was well into the afternoon. The cliff top path was lined with a variety of wild flowers which made the walking most pleasant. I would have like to have visited Gaylet Pot, a subterranean passage, its entrance lying in a middle of a field but crops had been planted. With welcome sunshine now making an appearance I approached the picturesque coastal village of Auchmithie rounding the attractive Castlesea Bay on the way. In the village I stopped in the churchyard for a snack before venturing down to take a last look at the coast before heading inland.
Ironically I could have caught a bus into Arbroath as one turned up but I was heading inland now to Kinblethmont. Setting out along the road, a driver soon stopped to offer me a lift into Arbroath and I explained that I wasn’t going that way. Soon afterwards I came across two young ladies who were waiting for a friend to turn up. They had followed me out from Arbroath along the coast and we had passed one another several times. As I was speaking to them their lift turned up and again I was offered a lift into Arbroath which I declined.
Turning right I set off along Cadgers Road, (a track), and later turned north through the West Woods of Ethie which was surprisingly busy with walkers as it was tea time. The sunshine of earlier had gone and now replaced by some threatening clouds to the north. Some lane walking took me north then northwest to cross the A92 beyond the hamlet of Brunton. My only concern was getting from the next road into the Kinblethmont Estate. A track ran southwest from a road and indeed this seemed good until I almost got to the estate boundary when it abruptly stopped and ahead what was supposed to be a track was choked by tall nettles. I had no choice but to divert to follow a field boundary with young crops planted to the edge. Scaling a low wall at the end I was immediately onto a familiar track within the Kinblethmont Estate which I had walked earlier in the week. The easiest way back was to walk via the walled garden but in doing so I met one of the owners armed with a gun. Having explained that I was staying on the estate we had a long conversation and anyway he was only out shooting grey squirrels. I was back at our self catering cottage by early evening and ahead of my intended schedule and lucky insomuch that the evening turned wet soon afterwards.