Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Friday, 26 May 2017

TGO Challenge 2017 - Day 14 - Monifieth to Dickmont's Den

Date: Thursday 25 May

Route: as planned: Monifieth > coastal cycleway > Carnoustie > East Haven > Arbroath > Dickmont's Den (then back to nearby car park)

Distance: 23 km (Cum: 303)

Ascent: 150 metres (Cum: 9000)

Time taken: 6.25 hrs including 1.5 hrs breaks

Weather: blue skies, hot and calm

Leaving the campsite at 8 am I was surprised to be accosted by another Challenger. Simon Sawers had been on the same site with his wife Fiona. He had come via the Sidlaw Hills, a bit to the north of my route. It was good to see this fellow XXL Club member, albeit briefly. My third Challenger since Day 1.

Soon I passed through The Parish of Barry, another ancient place with a long history.

Then, via a track beside the busy main line railway to Aberdeen, lined with red campion, hawkweed,  forgetmenots, plantains, buttercups, vetch, bugle, speedwell and the ever present gorse and broom, a well groomed golf course introduced Carnoustie.

The source of the name Carnoustie is uncertain, but it originated long before the town of Carnoustie that I passed through next. Folk etymology suggests that the name has an Anglic origin. It is supposed to derive from the scots 'Craws Nestie', referring to the large number of crows that inhabit the area. This tradition is alluded to in the coat of arms of Carnoustie, which includes a pair of crows.

Carnoustie grew rapidly throughout the 19th century due to the growth of the local textile industry. It was popular as a tourist resort from the early Victorian era up to the latter half of the 20th century, due to its seaside location, and is best known for the Carnoustie Golf Links course that often hosts the Open Championship.

The area surrounding Carnoustie has been occupied continuously since the Neolithic period, blah, blah.

Numerous short cist burials have been found in the area, including one found in 1994 at West Scryne, a mile north-east of Carnoustie, that was radiocarbon dated to between 1730 and 1450 BC. The presence of Bronze Age round barrows at Craigmill is also indicated by cropmarks. From the Iron age, perhaps the most prominent remains are of the Dundee Law Hill Fort that I was on yesterday. Several brochs are also found in the area, including the ruins at Drumsturdy and at Craighill. Roman remains are also found in the area. Particularly notable are several temporary marching camps, and Roman coins have periodically been found nearby. 

The path had become more interesting after parting with the firing ranges that accompany it to Carnoustie, and by the time I reached East Haven the temperature had also soared. It was a pleasant surprise therefore to find a jug of cool orange juice and a stack of plastic cups, with an invitation to imbibe in return for a small donation. Thank you.

Nearby were a squad of volunteers busy perfecting a garden on a random piece of land, and a toilet block. No ordinary toilet block. This one was decked out as an art gallery, with brochures and all sorts!

On to Arbroath then, past Elliot Links, an area of regeneration of wildlife after a bitumen factory was removed from the site - these days the only indication that there was ever a factory here is the signage.

Wiki interlude: - here's a highly edited precis....

Arbroath's history as a town begins in the High Middle Ages with the founding of Arbroath Abbey in 1178. 

The town grew considerably during the Industrial Revolution owing to the expansion of firstly the flax and secondly the jute industries, and the engineering sector. A new harbour was built in 1839 and by the 20th century, Arbroath had become one of the larger fishing ports in Scotland.

The town is notable as the home of the Declaration of Arbroath, as well as the Arbroath smokie. The town's football team, Arbroath Football Club, holds the world record for the highest number of goals scored in a professional football match. They won 36–0 against Aberdeen Bon Accord in the Scottish Cup in 1885.

(Wiki has lots, lots more on Arbroath but you may be pleased to hear that it has now been put to bed for this trip. I hope some of you enjoyed its informative interludes.)

By now, Sue had parked up beyond the town and had walked back down the cycleway to meet me. Lunch was taken outside a restaurant overlooking the small harbour.

Then, after a brief encounter with John Woolston, who had finished the Challenge earlier and was now visiting relatives, Sue and I strolled on towards my finishing point, meeting Sam and Terry en route - they had already been to Dickmont's Den.

There's apparently a ballad - 'The Piper of Dickmont Den', and tales of smuggling concerning mostly the monks from the Abbey using the underground caves from the Abbey to the Cliffs...closed now for safety reasons....

Wouldn't it be wonderful if they could be made safe again...think of the fun and the tourist trade.

Sadly they aren't, so we made our way past a large group of youths who were enjoying the sunny day by undertaking sundry acts of bravado on the rocks that make up this interesting section of coastline. There are rock arches and caves, accessible with varying degrees of difficulty from the coast path that runs about 30 metres above the high tide line.

Dickmont's Den turned out to be a finger of water between the red rocks, just the sort of place smugglers would have used, with a good supply of caves. We left the rucksack at the top of the cliff and scrambled steeply down for feet in the sea and the picture used in the last posting.

Then it was back to the car park, and a short drive to Montrose after picking up Sam and Terry and stopping off for some freshly cooked Arbroath smokies.

The Links Hotel provided some post Challenge luxury, and a most enjoyable afternoon with Markus and evening with all and sundry followed.

The pictures:
Typical coastal view from today
Arbroath harbour
Looking down to Dickmont's Den
Outside the Links Hotel


AlanR said...

Well done Martin. Its been a good journey following you.

Phreerunner said...

Thanks Alan. Very enjoyable it was too, with some nice relaxing afternoons after early finishes. Most of the ail.end have faded away as well.