Mearns 50+ Group: Walking at Tarfside in Glenesk

Mearns 50+ at the Rowan Tower
Mearns 50+ at the Rowan Tower

P.D.B. – O.M.G. are two modern terms used when tweeting, the former now internationally known after the closing speeches at the Commonwealth Games ceremony.

And these are two expressions to describe our latest walks in Glenesk. Pure Dead Brilliant and Oh My God could well be the buzz words of today in an attempt to convey the beauty and tranquillity of the glen.

Sunshine all day, no wind, clear skies and happy faces were the order of the day when we atarted our walks from the car park at Tarfside.

Across the road signposted path to Deeside passing over the hills to arrive at Aboyne was the route taken by the main group following the river upsteam past Gracie’s Linn towards Tod Hillock and Shinfar.

Glen Tennet comes next but after that there is the vast expanse of moorland leading across to Mount Battock, which stands between Angus and Kincardineshire, now integrated into the larger Aberdeenshire.

To the other side lies lies the old settlements of the Baillies and Arsallary where once people lived and worked.

After a leisurely lunch, the walkers wandered back to Tarfside enjoying the countryside with livestock grazing and the occasional flurry of pheasants as they were disturbed, flying off noisily across the heather.

The second group decided to cross the road bridge and pass the beautiful granite built church on the right with its bell displayed outside, but apparently operated from inside the building.

Opening and closing a gate allows access to the old road over the hill to eventually reach the car park not far from Invermark Castle.

The road, now really a Land Rover-type track, rises steadily and gradually reaches the crest after a mile or so. We had our ‘fly cup’ and ‘piece’ there in the sunshine then cut across wild heather to gain access to the Tower.

A tall conical tower with a doorway, locally known as the Rowan Tower, its true name is the Fox-Maule Memorial. Built as a memorial to that family, who at one time were land owners of vast estates from Glen Esk to Carnoustie.. There were even connections to South Africa in the past.

A bridge further up the glen, leading to the water reservoir and filter buildings, carries a plaque mentioning the Fox-Maule and Lindsay family connections.

From the Tower, the views are outstanding on a clear day, looking up the glen towards Loch Lee, Glen Mark, Invermark Lodge and Craig MasKeldie on the horizon as well as Mount Keen.

Over the moorlands to Deeside where in a few weeks time the purple heather will transform the landscape as autumn approaches.

Both walks were between four and six miles, with most of the climbing done by the ‘strollers’ or slow walkers on this occasion to the Hill of Rowan.

It had been another successful day hopefully to be repeated on Tuesday 19th August when the Group will be walking from Wormit to Ballmerinao in N.E. Fife. The bus leaves at 10am as usual.

The Hillwalker

Caption:

The group pause for a breather at the Rowan Tower.