Martin on the TGO Challenge 2017

Martin on the TGO Challenge 2017

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

TGO Challenge 2009 - Day 13 - Kirkton of Glenisla Hotel to Lochside Caravan Park, Forfar - Country Lanes

Distance walked: 34.6 km
Metres ascent: 528
Time taken including 1 hour 20 min stops: 8 hrs 50 mins
No of Challengers encountered: 0

We enjoyed our stay at the Glenisla Hotel

A freak bit of phone reception woke us early with a text message from Heather T-S. She is wet, blistered, and camping nearby in Glen Prosen. But she has bagged a few summits. We suspect she would have got cold hands and is glad now to be down low for the last time.

[Later - she made it to Brechin together with many others.]

I've heard claims that the last couple of days of the Challenge are an anti-climax. I beg to differ. After 12 days averaging about 1000 metres ascent, it's a welcome contrast to enjoy the undulating countryside that leads to the coast. The flora and fauna change gradually to lowland species, and the boggy moorland tracks turn to firmer surfaces, albeit sometimes asphalt.

This is in my view something to look forward to - not at all an anti-climax.

Today we set off on the boggy Cateran Trail - towards Alyth - the wrong direction for us, so at Whitehills we left that trail and headed along the road through Dykend, then on tracks that took us to views of the sea and led us all the way to the village of Kirkton of Kingoldrum.

We had hoped for a village inn purveying real ale and bar meals. There was nothing next to the church - a bad sign - but my spirits lifted when I spotted an 'ale' sign. Alas a house was for sale, with a tree partly concealing the sign.

So tomorrow's lunch was eaten in a grassy field full of sheep.

Above: heartsease (I think)
Below: farmland typical of the area we strolled through today


Easy paths led to Kirriemuir, which was entered via a scenic RSPB reserve, then along the pleasantly landscaped parkland path that leads beside the river to the town centre.

Here the friendly Co-op provided a tasty supplementary snack, and our provisions were replenished sufficient to see us through to Montrose tomorrow.

J M Barrie was born in Kirriemuir - here's a commemorative statue of Peter Pan

More paths and tracks led us gently to Forfar Loch, where we joined joggers and dog walkers for the last couple of scenic km to this excellent caravan park that also welcomes campers. The only downsides are the sound of a distant disco' and a complete absence of other Challengers.

The birdsong is trying hard to drown out the disco'. We are in a blackbird zone.

Today pink purslane and various umbellifers lined the hedgerows, with a surfeit of bluebells and many other lowland species. The lanes were brightly coloured with the orangey yellow of gorse and broom.

In the air, sparrows and goldfinches were abundant, mallard are now quacking everywhere, and crows and rooks are nesting in copses.

I could go on....


Top: a field of daisies and geese looked very white
Middle: we passed lots of freshly ploughed fields
Bottom: sadly, the disused railway lines are a forgotten potential amenity

It was good to hear that Gayle and Mick have finished, and that Alan has enjoyed the delights of Feughside - one of the highlights of my first crossing two years ago. We look forward to seeing them and many more tomorrow; hopefully including Darren - his blog remains in a time warp.

Thank you Louise for your comments. You will have observed the different styles of the various blogs! We will enjoy reading the others next week.

This is all a rather verbose way of saying 'we had a pleasant but fairly uneventful walk today, and didn't really meet anyone - in fact our only real encounters were with a nice lady in Kirriemuir Co-op and the campsite warden here'.

Tomorrow will be different, as we will strain every sinew to go the 25 miles to Montrose, and hopefully meet up with lots of old friends. So you'll have to wait a while for the next words from this scribe.

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