If you can find your way to the starting point for the walk from Wormit to Balmerino, this is a super walk.
The parking area – I hesitate to call it a car-park – is almost under the Tay Rail Bridge and right at the edge of the water, with great views across to Dundee and further afield. Although we have done this walk before, there were some new things to see along the way.
First was the new memorial to the people killed in the Tay Rail Bridge disaster. This consists of three large gravestone-type slabs, with the names and ages of those killed on one side of the three; and with information and a picture on the other sides.
Continuing past this, we soon veered up to the left on a narrow path through woodland and along the edges of fields. One of our members found sloes growing there, and was last seen picking them in happy anticipation of sloe gin! The way is well sign-posted and very easy to follow. On the approach to Balmerino, we crossed a grassy area then passed in front of some cottages. This seemed like private ground but was marked as the way to go.
The village of Balmerino itself is charming and is, I believe, a Conservation area. Our lunch stop was in the grounds of Balmerino Abbey where we sat in the sun and watched swallows swooping across the grass. Within the grounds there are many things of interest, but one worthy of mention is an old tree with the following inscription:” Tradition claims that this Spanish chestnut was planted by Queen Ermengarde at the foundation of the abbey in 1229. However the National Trust for Scotland has taken core borings which indicate that it is between 400 and 435 years old. September 1988” Before returning to Wormit, some of us took a quick look at houses nearby which were reputedly where the monks lived.
Our return journey was by a different route: one more inland. We walked back to the centre of Balmerino and turned right, then across a bridge, round a bend and uphill to pass a cemetery, from where there were wonderful views again. We turned left and continued until we came to an old phone box where we turned left then bore right. This took us eventually through some most interesting woodland. First there was a peacock butterfly which obligingly sat with its wings open on the grass and allowed Stewart to photograph it. Next we came to some trees with clusters of red translucent berries. No-one was able to make an identification on the day, but having studied my book of trees, I would hazard a guess at Guelder Rose although it is very rare further north than the Midlands. Other trees that caused discussion were grey alder and hazel.
The final part of the walk took us across some farmland and back to the water’s edge where the cars were parked.
Distance covered was between six and seven miles.
The group that did the shorter walk started near Balmerino and walked back along the route we took to get to the abbey.
The next walk will be on Tuesday September 2 2014, from Glen Doll car park to Corrie Fee and return. PLEASE NOTE: the minibus will leave the Burgh Buildings in Laurencekirk at 9.30am.
Photography by Stewart Craig