Reproduced from www.viewranger.com. Map data: Ordnance Survey ©Crown Copyright and/or database right 2016. License number 100043379.
|From camp follow roadway SSE to NO 589 730 join River Esk path SSE to B966 at NO 600 709 and follow Easterly to Fettercairn take SE exit B966 on r.about then left (NE) B966 at junction at NO 656 733. Keep on B966 to NO 738 772, and take road SE at Brownmuir.|
|OS Landranger series maps: 45|
|Length: 19.54 km|
|Total Ascent: 108m|
|Total Descent: 156m|
|Max Elevation: 124m|
|Min Elevation: 57m|
This is my penultimate day. I will decamp and continue SE on the river past the Rock of Solitude, another fast flowing gorge carved through by the relentless flow.
When I reach a roadway, some time before Edzell, I turn East and follow the road to Fettercairn where I may partake of some lunch. Fettercairn, like so many angus based towns, was visited by Victoria and Albert, and their stardom was marked by the construction of a Royal Arch.
Victoria wrote in her journal of Fettercairn, “At a quarter-past seven o’clock we reached the small quiet town, or rather village, of Fettercairn, for it was very small-not a creature stirring, and we got out at the quiet little inn, “Ramsay Arms” quite unobserved”. “Louis and General Grey had rooms in an hotel, called “The Temperance Hotel” opposite”. “The evening being bright and moonlight and very still, we all went, and walked through the whole village, where not a creature moved:- through the principal little square, in the middle of which was a sort of pillar or Town Cross on steps, and Louis read, by the light of the moon, a proclamation for collections of charities which was stuck on it”. “Suddenly we heard a drum and fifes!”. “As we walked slowly back, we heard the noise from time to time- and when we reached the inn door, we stopped and saw six men march up with fifes and a drum (not a creature taking any notice of them), go down the street and back again”. “Albert asked the little maid, and the answer was, “It’s just a band” and that it walked about in this way twice a week. How odd! It went on playing some time after we got home”.
I continue through an area known as Howe of the Mearns on the road to Brownmuir.
Over the years, the Howe has changed from small scale farming, self sufficient holdings on bright red clay and rich brown earth of the Mearns. Much of the and is now given over to fruit growing, as while it is cold, its one of the driest regions in Scotland!
Romans described savages in this area, savage tribes who ran naked in the woods, and were wanton violence berserkers in warfare. But the evidence of longbarrows standing stones and cairns support a more religious side to these people who were clearly passionate about protecting their lands from invasion.
The act of union saw an influx of activity from Kings and their hawking and hunting followers. The surnames Marshall, Falconer and Stewart came from these times. The biggest change to the Mearns is the deviation away from agriculture through clearances, war, emigration and oil and gas. many of the small holdings and farms were sold off to oil workers, and remain in non-agricultural ownership to this day.
At the time of route devising, was listed as a caravan and camping site, but seems to be non-operational. I may divert a mile or so before that to Drumelzie wood for my last but one night.
See you tomorrow.