MEARNS 50+ Group
“The North Wind doth blow and we shall have snow.........”
There was no snow when we left home on Tuesday, March 3, but the weather forecast had predicted snow for Perth and Dundee. The car park at Monikie Country Park had a covering of snow but the sun was shining.
Although the 26 of us divided into two groups, we covered more or less the same ground.
Leaving the car park, we set off around Island Pond, the larger of the two main ponds at Monikie. These ponds were built as reservoirs in the late 1800s and were only taken out of commission in 1979.
Walking on the raised embankment round the pond, and out of the shelter of the trees, wow the wind was cold! To our right was what would have been a much smaller third pond, but which is now partially drained and is called Denfind Sanctuary.
About two-thirds of the way round Island Pond, we came down from the embankment and left the park through a gate. A right turn took us along Craigton Road, the B962, in Monikie, then left along an unclassified road where two ferocious dogs voiced their displeasure at our passing.
I think we were all glad of the robust fence between them and us! At the end of that road, we turned right on to a public road which we followed for about 200 yards until we arrived at an entrance to the Panmure Estate. The road here is private, but we had been given permission to go. Our route led us slightly uphill, past banks of snowdrops, through another gate and finally up to a T.
The tower we had come to see was on our right, but first we turned left, and looked down a long straight drive. About half-way down, on a small mound, there was a prehistoric cross, known as the Camus cross or Camuston cross.
Legend has it that this marks the burial place of Camus, leader of the Danes, beaten by King Malcolm II at the Battle of Barry. Believe it if you like!
We then retraced our steps and continued to the monument we had come to see, the Panmure Testimonial. This was built in 1839 as a thank you to William Maule, 2nd Earl of Panmure. In 1826, the “year of the short corn”, he did not take any rent from his tenants, and they were so grateful that they arranged for this tower to be built.
As the Earl was still alive when this was done, it is called a “Testimonial” and not a “Memorial” or “Monument”. Lunch was eaten in the shelter of this building, as it was still very cold. Then, once again, we retraced our steps, back through Monikie. The dogs must have been inside by this time. Whew!
Back in the park, one group finished the journey round Island Pond, while the rest of us turned right and walked round North Pond. At this point, the wind was so strong it was like to blow us off the embankment.
Eventually we reached the shelter of a wooded area, where there were giant head sculptures hanging on the trees.
We arrived back in time to see a number of ducks waddle out of the pond to be fed by a visiting family.
Distance covered was possibly about 5 miles. Although it was a cold day, the sun did shine sometimes. Monikie Country Park is one I’d like to re-visit, perhaps with a grandson in tow.
The next walk will be on Tuesday, March 17, in the Edzell area, where the starting point will be the car park beside the Church. As usual, the minibus will leave the Burgh Buildings in Laurencekirk at 10am.