For many of us, Newtyle is merely a name on a sign-post, on the A94, just past Glamis.
Unless you lived nearby, you wouldn’t need to go through it to get to anywhere! And yet.....it was the terminus for the Dundee and Newtyle railway, the first commercial railway in Northern Scotland, opened in 1831.
Newtyle – as you may have guessed – was the starting point for the Mearns 50+ group walk, on Tuesday, July 7, when 21 of us met in the car-park beside the Public Park. It was appropriate, therefore, that much of our walk was along dismantled railway tracks.
We started off by walking through part of the village, past a shop and the Church, to Kirkton, where we branched left to join the first railway path. It was hereabouts that we saw a deer bounding through a field of grain. Soon we found ourselves in a deep cutting with rock walls, draped in moss, ferns and ivy. Somewhere along this part, was a seat with a laminated copy of the children’s book, “The Gruffalo”. Nearby was a picture of the Gruffalo, on a bush, so I wonder if this had been a Gruffalo trail at one point.
After this, I lost track – excuse the pun – of where we were. Having admired the distant view of a hillside with nearly twenty wind turbines, we went down some wooden steps and on to another path. Then followed a bit of road walking after which we re-joined the railway track. Re-joined may not be the correct word here, as I’m not sure if this was the same railway line or a different one. Anyhow it led us in a very straight line to the village of Ardler, where we had lunch in the park there. A bit of a walk through Ardler showed it to be a lovely looking little village.
Soon it was time to re-trace our steps. Much of the way back was as we had come, but when we reached a set of steps on our left, we climbed these. They were similar to the ones we descended early in the walk, and brought us on to another piece of unused track. This led us eventually back to our starting point at the car-park. Shortly before reaching the car-park, we passed a stony area on our right. This, we were told, used to be a turntable for the trains.
At the end of the walk, Dave’s pedometer registered about 5.5 miles but John’s phone suggested we had covered 7.18 miles and taken 3 hours and 7 minutes. Now which do you believe? Whatever, it was a lovely walk, with lots of bird-song. I hope this is an area that we will return to. I believe there is a set of booklets about the various walks round Newtyle.
The next walk will be on Tuesday July 21. It was to have been the Seven Bridges circular walk around Ballater but apparently one of the bridges is closed so we have to do a wee detour: it may just be a six bridges walk! We will start from the usual car-park in the centre of Ballater. Please note that the minibus will leave the Burgh Buildings in Laurencekirk at 9.30 am.