Monday 8th May sees us leaving St. Andrews after a last run down to the beach, past the Old Course and a final browse of the bookshop to get the OS map for our next destination. We head north and west through Dundee to Kilry in Angus – a part of Scotland that I have only ever driven through before. Kilry is so tiny it barely even gets a mention on our OS map – only 18 miles from Dundee and 34 miles from St. Andrews – it is like stepping back in time and entering a different world the contrast with the towns is so great. Our destination is Culdee Cottage a lovely holiday home in the grounds of the owners’ house. The Jacksons are welcoming and generous in sharing their beautifully tended garden. Away from the coast the sun is still shining but we are out of the wind and it is warm enough to sit in the garden drinking tea and watching the wildlife. Birds – siskins, chaffinches and pied and grey wagtails. And red squirrels – it is so long since I have seen one I had forgotten what our native squirrel looks like and I was startled to see their long ears and cheeky faces.
Our cottage is lovely – full of all the things that make somewhere feel a real “home from home” – a well equipped kitchen, comfortable chairs and beds, teddy bears and rubber ducks. And little touches that help you really enjoy a holiday – a map with suggested local walks and a bird identification book………… (well they helped to make MY holiday anyway).
Our time here is mainly about walking and some gentle running. On Tuesday we walk from the Den of Aylth – a steep sided, wooded valley with the Aylth Burn running through it. Up onto the moor and on to Aylth hill and then picking up the local long distance trail – the Cateran train to bring us back down into the metropolis!
Wednesday is a visit to Pitlochry – and a rather disappointing lunch followed by a lovely walk up through waterfalls out of the town to the smallest distillery in Scotland – Edradour. We were expecting to see a few Orcs along the way and for it to be run by hobbits……………………. We missed the tour – and decided not to wait for the next – but picked up a wee dram to have after dinner. Our return to Pitlochry is beautiful and we see and hear many birds – including cuckoo and woodpecker and several deer leaping across our path or standing still like statues.
Thursday we visit Kirriemuir to see J.M. Barrie’s birthplace – owned by the National Trust for Scotland. For future reference – it is always worth checking opening times as – unfortunately it is shut until the weekend. However, we discover that there is more to this tiny town than meets the eye – and it has spawned more than one famous son. Born in Forfar – Bon Scott – front man for AC/DC was raised here until he was six and we arrive at a time when there is a major (well one room) exhibition of his memorabilia in the Tourist Information centre. Best summarised as “lived fast and died young” – but clearly the town still holds him close to their hearts. Tourist Information turns out to be very friendly and full of helpful guides and walk leaflets and we head north into the glens.
So Thursday’s walk sees us starting from Cortachy and heading to Dykehead. A picnic and a pleasant walk along the river is unfortunately cut short as a bridge has been washed away and we are unable to cross into Dykehead. One sad fact is the amount of plastic rubbish littering this part of the world and we see at least a dozen plastic bottles waiting to be washed downstream in the mile or so we walk. I am reminded to bring a bag with me in future to collect this – and of my lovely niece Beth’s aspiration to cut down on the devastation that this waste is having on our planet Plastic Free Hobbit. So we return to the car and drive to the other side of the river to continue our walk uphill though the forest to the Airlie Monument – an impressive stone tower built in 1901 and back to the car past the unexpected and interesting Scott-Wilson memorial sculpture.
Friday is our last day in Angus and we do not stray far from Culdee Cottage. We do a circular walk from the cottage and take in the nearby waterfall at Reekie Linn. After lunch we drive out to Blackwater Reservoir and call in a Peel Farm for some excellent cakes.
Saturday is our flight home – but not until early evening so we drive to the airport and Park and Ride the tram into Edinburgh. We don’t have a lot of time here today so limit ourselves to one gallery – the National Gallery of Modern Art – a bit of a walk but we are used to that by now! A small exhibition – Music from the Balconies – Ed Ruscha in Los Angeles made the walk worthwhile – but the highlight was a room filled by a work by Scottish artist Nathan Coley, 286 Places of Worship, Edinburgh 2004, detailed cardboard copies of the said places……………..
It’s a while since I’ve had a running track on one of these blogs – so here we go in great Scottish Style – but maybe this time its a walking track – The Proclaimers with 500 miles!