Tuesday, 21 June 2011



I haven’t posted the map for the whole day because you would be bored by it and so would I as I have walked it so many times I know every bend in the road by now… Unfortunately Dave didn’t and so he marched ahead to ‘walk through his blisters’ and tromped off down the road all the way to Edzell, leaving Andy & me for dust.

However, I do want you to pay attention to the map I have posted – So – Stand in a Polite Line and sit up straight at the back, all you Challengers out there! Do you hear me? Okay?  Good.

Now this route has been explained to you before, very patiently and politely by Lord Elpus. You can find the lesson, HERE. You all should have taken notes last time around but it seems that you must have been asleep! I will cut and paste Phil’s excellent words below:

“It’s almost the end of the TGO Challenge, and after swapping tales and enjoying the convivial atmosphere at Tarfside, you face the steady plod to Edzell (and the joys of the Tuck Inn) and then maybe take the path alongside the post office to find the ‘Shakkin’ Brig’ and eventually the long road to North Water Bridge Campsite. So far, so familiar, and if you’ve done this a couple of times before ... so boring!

Here’s a detour from the familiar trade route, offering stunning riverside scenery, woods and wildlife – and no cow dung! Plus its all quite hidden away from the trudging column of footsore (and probably headsore) Tarfside wayfarers.

And it begins for us at the ‘Rocks of  Solitude’.

It was the name that attracted me – Rocks of Solitude. So a few years ago I diverted from the usual Challenge route on the track west of the river and crossed the bridge at NO574753 and hopped up onto the road. About 3k down the road there is a sign to the ‘Rocks of Solitude’ and, as you descend to the river, an information board which gives no real hint of the delights to follow.

The beautifully constructed path, hacked out of the rock by Napoleonic prisoners of war, generally keeps above the river gorge; there are smaller paths down to fishing beats, but the main path is pretty obvious. The woods above teem with wildlife and birdsong, the North Esk crashes wildly through the rocks below. This is a salmon river, and its value to Victorian and Edwardian sportsmen is marked by the salmon sculpture on the rather beautiful ruined bridge.

It’s just over 2.6k before the path leads you to a blue door set in a wall. It’s a little low door – rather hobbit like. You pop out through the blue door and suddenly you find yourself back in the real world – on the B966 at Gannochy Bridge with cars whizzing past.

But although the main highlights are over, the walk continues in a pleasant enough fashion. Cross the bridge and take the path on the opposite bank which leads all the way to Edzell and the Shakkin’ Brig, threading through beech woods with fields to the right and the river surging along its rocky bed below on the left. Walk past the wobbly suspension bridge and bear right to emerge in Edzell high street next to the post office. Then turn right to amble down to a well earned bite and cuppa (or even an ice cream) at the Tuck Inn.

This delightful little diversion adds about 1k at most to the ‘conventional’ route. I enjoyed it – hope you do too!”


Just to make it really clear, the red squares on the map show the entry points to the riverside walk to Edzell. It is a delightful walk. You avoid all the dung-dodging, bull-fighting and mud wrestling of the other side of the river and have the wonderful rushing North Esk as your companion.
Andy Walker's Picture: Me, with Denis's lager

So – it would be nice to hear of a few more trying this charming little routelet next year. Okay? Okay.

We finally caught Dave up at Edzell – he had been there quite some time in the Tuck Inn and then we plodded down the Airfield road to North Water Bridge to flip up the tents and enjoy the birthday cake and beer. I don’t think Dave’s feet were any better…


  1. Laura and I did the Gannochy Bridge to Edzell bit this year, as suggested by my vetters. It is indeed a nice wander, (so long as you don't mind clambering over and circum-navigating fallen trees...) but we popped up onto the High Street before the Tuck Inn, so didn't have to double back to the Wobbly Bridge.

  2. Louise & Laura: Well done, girls.

    You can have extra playtime while the rest of the class will be staying in to study their maps.

  3. Ta for mentioning this mon capitain.

    It's one of my favourite bits between the hills and the sea. I think this path is overlooked when route planning because it's next to a fat county boundary line, river and solid woodland boundary and you do have to squint a bit to see that it joins the road at NO589730. Plus if you're avoiding the road as much as possible, the little bridge that gets you off the track on the west side of the river at NO574753 doesn't exactly leap off the map either.

    It's a far better way into Edzell than carrying on past Dalbog IMHO.

    Mmmm. You just made me look at a map. So, next year .....

  4. Some of us enjoy Feteressoe. Some of us have learnt that a monster feline has been savaging above the Stonehaven golf-course. Edzel? Pah! We scoff at you cheese-eaters.

    Mind you, Lord Elpus's Delight is a glorious root. Pity about the trudge to the coast . . .


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