Those of you who have ever travelled to Glen Clova or Glen Prosen will be familiar with the Airlie Monument which can be seen for miles around.
This impressive tower, reminiscent of the tower at Airlie Castle, was built in 1901 in memory of the 11th Earl of Airlie, who was killed in action in the Boer War. Reaching this tower was our aim, but our starting point was the car park beside Cortachy School. Eleven walkers chose the shorter route and were rewarded with the sight of a squirrel and two deer. The main group were less fortunate in their sightings of wild-life, but had an interesting walk nonetheless.
From the car park we walked down the road, across Cortachy Bridge over the River South Esk, then turned left through the gate which marks the start of the River Walk. In a couple of weeks time, this should be spectacular: the rhododendrons and azaleas were barely out. We followed the path which runs alongside the river, past the (private) American Bridge then crossed the second bridge, Sawmill Footbridge. At the other side, we turned left, through a very muddy patch, then uphill and onwards until we came to Cullow Farm which we passed and walked out the farm road to where it joined the Glen Clova road. At the end of the farm road, there was a little “hoosie” where you could leave money for eggs. There was a spectacular metal-work chicken on the roof.
We turned right on to the Clova road and walked a short distance to a wooded area where we branched left and soon came to Cortachy cemetery and the start of the walk up to the tower. The walk up is through woodland so we were unable to use our usual excuse of stopping to admire the view!! All we could see were trees and more trees! However, there was a little light relief along the way when a frog was found on the path. On asking whether it was a frog or a toad, I was informed that it was a puddock!
Eventually, we did reach the top but by this time the weather had become dull and overcast so there were no views to admire. We had lunch near the top then made our way back down by a different route, coming out this time on the Glen Prosen road. Very near our exit point there is a fairly new monument to Scott of the Antarctic. It is very well worth seeing as there is quite a lot of information on or around it. I would certainly like to go back for another look.
Leaving the monument, we made our way to Dykehead where we decided to leave the road and make our way back to Cortachy through the wood, then back over Sawmill Bridge. The last bit of the walk, alongside the river again was just lovely: on the way out, I had not noticed the small clumps of primroses and violets by the edge of the path. Finally, on our way out of the car-park, on the way home, we spotted a red squirrel running along the wall.
The next walk will be on Tuesday, May 26, to Blairgowrie to do the Bluebell Wood walk. Starting point will be the car-park just off the Wellmeadow, where we’ve met before. The minibus will leave the Burgh Buildings at 10am.