Finzean and cuckoos! Mearns 50+ group

The walkers at lunchtime (Picture Allan Smith
The walkers at lunchtime (Picture Allan Smith

What does the name “Finzean” mean to you?

For many, it was the name of a delicious shortbread once produced there but now manufactured in Laurencekirk under a different name. For me, the name conjured up memories of a Guide camp when I was 11 or 12.

Old Sawmill (Picture by Allan Smith)

Old Sawmill (Picture by Allan Smith)

Now, however, it will be forever associated with a super walk.

On Tuesday, June 9, 35 of us met at the Church car-park near Finzean, where 17 opted for the shorter walk led by Elizabeth Thomson, and 18 of us did the longer one led by Ian Davidson. Those on the longer walk started by following the Finzean School Woodland Walk. Once out of the wood, the path ran parallel to the road, all the way to the school.

When we reached Finzean House, we bore left, then turned off to the right through more trees, arriving eventually at a cluster of houses called Turfgate. Our route continued through trees for some way, then a short walk on a quiet road until we turned left to Woodend, which is where I believe the Finzean shortbread was originally made.

Leaving Woodend, we crossed a wooden bridge over the Water of Feugh then followed a rough track through a small field where, we were told, the Victorian artist Joseph Farquharson used to do many of his paintings. Soon we came to a weir in the river, and it was almost exactly as I remembered it from the camp all those years ago! At the end of the road we bore left then right at the old sawmill and we were back on the road again. Soon we took another left turn and after a bit of a climb, found ourselves back at Turfgate.

At Turfgate, we turned right along a narrow footpath through more woodland. (I think this walk was in the southern reaches of the Forest of Birse, hence all the woodland.) Finally, we came to a junction in the road, and turned left, back up to the Church.

The group of walkers who chose the shorter route, followed a path from the Church downhill and parallel with the road. Close to where the road forks, they turned left, crossed the road and took an almost semi-circular route round the outskirts of the village, to the Village Hall. Here, they crossed the road (B976) and headed back the way on another path, past the playing fields then back on to their original path. Before going back to the Church, they took a slight diversion and arrived back through the School Woodland where we had started.

The lovely weather helped make the day for us all, but the Finzean area is certainly one I would recommend.

The next walk will be on Tuesday, June 23, to Loch Lee and beyond. The minibus will leave the Burgh Buildings in Laurencekirk at 10am.