Possibly because of an unfavourable weather forecast, there was a relatively low turn out for the most recent Mearns 50+ Group walk around Tarland.
Eleven of us chose the long walk and twelve the shorter ramble. Our starting point on this occasion was the Square in Tarland, where parking seemed to be a random affair.
There are some interesting looking shops in the Square and I’d love to go back for a proper look. In particular there are a toy shop and a craft shop – amazing in a village that size.
Our route for the day was called the Pittenderich Circular Route and in the leaflet about the walk, it’s described as “strenuous”. Fortunately we didn’t know that when we started out! From the Square, we walked along Melgum Road, past public toilets which weren’t open, then turned right into School Road.
On our left we passed Aberdeen Terrace, which reminded me of a friend who used to live there, then on to Strachan Cottages, where we turned left and were soon out of the village on a rough track. Soon we passed 3 or 4 beautiful new houses on our right, and another building – maybe a hall or offices – can anyone help? They were at the junction of our path and a road which led ultimately to Douneside House.
Douneside House is now owned by the MacRobert Trust but used to be the home of Lady MacRobert who lost her 3 sons: one in a flying accident and the other two while on active duty with the RAF in 1941.
From Douneside House, the route is way-marked with red markers on posts and is pretty easy to follow. We seemed to find ourselves going ever upward, but it was never too steep. About this time, the promised rain started, so it was on with the waterproof trousers and keep plodding! After a belt of trees, two or three trees wide, we entered a wood and it was here we stopped for lunch, while we had some shelter.
Once we left the wood, the rain had almost stopped but we were still climbing! The heather around us was beautiful, though. Eventually we came to a picnic table and the ground levelled out. We could have turned left and kept climbing to the summit of Pittenderich, but we turned right and enjoyed the views for a wee while; on a clear day they would have been spectacular. Now it was more or less downhill all the way and it didn’t seem long until we were back in Tarland. Distance covered was about 7 miles.
One house we passed before reaching Tarland had Oor Willie and Dennis the Menace as a centre-piece in the garden; there were various other creatures dotted around, and they brought smiles to our faces.
The next walk will be on Tuesday, September 15, a circular walk around Backwater Dam. As usual, the minibus will leave the Burgh Buildings in Laurencekirk at 10am.