Day 268: Catterline to Scurdie Ness

Distance: 22.18 miles

Ascent: 1921 feet

Weather: Sunny Spells

Accommodation: Wild camp Scurdie Ness


It had been very windy in the night, and despite being quite sheltered the tent was still flexing a fair amount. Even with this I slept fairly well and in the morning the Robertsons kindly made me a cup of tea and gave me breakfast before I set of just before 8. The weather forecast for today was pretty good and I wasn’t expecting much if any rain.

I had been quite ambitious with my proposed route for the first part of today and had thought it may not be possible but Derek had said it should be fine. It began by crossing a field known as The Reath, before dropping down a steep ravine which did have a sort of steep path down made by the locals to the river. This river could have probably been waded easily but there was a hilarious Heath Robinson creation of a bridge (see below) made with a strange ladder and a plank of wood on top. I actually used this but after a couple of steps had wished I hadn’t as it was pretty wobbly but made it to the other side safe enough. From here I had to get around a rocky headland before getting into Braidon Bay, it was more rocky than I had thought and very slippery so I had to be quite careful but as I reached the beach the view up to the lighthouse was lovely. After the shingle beach I went between a couple of rock stacks before climbing a steep set of stairs to the private Todhead Point Lighthouse.

That start section had been fine though surprisingly tiring for such a short stretch. I took a lane to the nearby farm before following the edge of a field to Whistleberry Castle, I didn’t actually see the remains of the castle, but someone has just built a ridiculously large, ostentatious house here which is pretty much a castle anyway.

I followed the road for a short while till shortly before it joined the main road, here I turned off firstly following a track and then just going off piste across the fields. The going was easy and as I began to descend next to Craig David (it is actually called that!) the views opening up over Inverbervie were stunning. A farmer had to point me the best way down the last bit to Inverbervie, as I had just wandered into his yard on the track, but fortunately it was very straightforward.

I headed straight in front of Inverbervie and took the cycle path to Gourdon. I found Gourdon very quaint with its lovely harbour and nice buildings, it just had a nice vibe. I had a short break on a bench beside the harbour before carrying on.

A lovely flat track took me the few miles to Johnshaven, and after that there was a sort of path that continued around a couple of bays and passed a caravan park before beginning to climb up towards Kirkton. In fact, I think there probably used to be a proper path here as there were so many warning signs; ‘dangerous bridge don’t use’, ‘dangerous path don’t proceed’, ‘path closed!’ I have become so used to these signs and know 95% of the time they are there for no reason, so have taken to ignoring them and just being careful. These signs are I believe actually quite dangerous, as if you keep putting warning signs up where there is no danger, when there is actually something dangerous which you put a sign up for people might ignore the sign thinking it was for nothing like the last 100 signs.

Rant over, at Woodston fishery I descended down to Sands of St Cyrus which is a beautiful expanse of sand with low dunes behind. I walked along the beach before turning up at the nature reserve to head inland a bit to cross the river on the cycleway viaduct. It was tempting just to follow the cycleway straight into Montrose as I was tired but I did follow the North Esk River back towards the coast, and took a track behind the dunes towards Montrose. I had actually not yet had lunch as had decided to get it in Montrose but it was now almost 4pm and I was starving, so I turned off into Montrose and went to the Tescos where they also had a café so I could have a hot meal and also get supplies for tonight and tomorrow morning.

I was bizarrely tired considering it had not been a particularly long day either in terms of distance or terrain, but the food had given me the energy to complete the last couple of miles to Scurdie Ness. I was on absolute empty when I reached here and fortunately found an amazing pitch spot almost immediately overlooking the lighthouse. I was so content once I was in my sleeping bag and snug in the tent and pretty sure I will sleep well tonight.

A lovely day but surprisingly tiring.

charles compton