Camping in Glen Mark

IMG_7292After years of sterling service my trusty Phoenix Phlighter backpacking tent has finally given up the ghost. Patched and re-patched (there are patches over the patches!), the time had come to accept that retiral was long overdue. So, with the Phoenix put out to pasture and unlikely to rise from its ashes, I scouted about for a replacement. I wanted something inexpensive to tide me over the summer and opted to give the Hi Gear Soloista a go. At just £19.99 from Go Outdoors it made but a small dent in my gear budget. Read more…

Tentsmuir Point

Pillbox near Tayport

Pillbox near Tayport

Research for a book on narrow gauge railways took me to Tentsmuir Point the other day, on a quest to find the remains of an old wartime wagon revealed by the shifting sands.

Setting off from the Fife town of Tayport, I soon encountered Second World War relics in the form of tank traps. As part of Tentmuir Coastal Defences, scores of these sturdy concrete blocks were manufactured by Polish soldiers in 1941 and placed in a line along the high water mark. This stretches from Tayport round the point although thanks to the shifting landscape and the gradual expansion of the coastline seaward many of the blocks now sit some distance inland from the water.

Close to Tayport I passed the derelict compound of a former meteorological station originally linked to RAF Leuchars and two pillboxes that cast a heavy stare over the estuary of the River Tay.

Tentsmuir National Nature Reserve

Tentsmuir National Nature Reserve

The line of tank traps extends east along the beach from here towards Tentsmuir Point and I followed it dutifully over the sand to an information board heralding my entry into Tentsmuir National Nature Reserve. While the main path continues east towards the sea, I opted to bear right and follow the block line south. Along the way I passed a couple of gun emplacements, the sand slowly filtering into and filling their dark interiors.

The line of blocks eventually ended, so I set a course for an obvious wartime landmark, a green prefabricated corrugated iron hut (known as Green Hut) mounted on concrete legs.

The wagon

The wagon

A short walk inland from here I found the railway bogie, mounted on a plinth. The 2ft gauge wagon – along with sections of rail and corrugated iron sheets used to mould the tank traps – was discovered by a walker after the beach was eroded by winter storms. It is believed that temporary railway tracks were laid to convey materials used during the making of the blocks and the track and wagons were simply abandoned after the war.

For a walk around Tentsmuir Point click here.

Walking in the Angus Glens

Angus Glens coverThe summer of 2012 dispensed some of the most unpredictable – and wettest – weather I have encountered for a long time in Scotland. Despite this I managed to achieve a long term personal goal – to produce a book of walks covering the Angus Glens, my favourite part of the country.

Living in Dundee, the glens are on my doorsteps. I began walking there as a child, both with family and through the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme, and have an enduring passion for the area. Over the years I have explored the hills and glens in all seasons and never fail to be inspired by the varied scenery and rich heritage of the landscape.

Hill and valley walks abound and a clutch of mountains, including several Munros, provide more challenging excursions for those seeking high ground and some of the best views in eastern Scotland. While the Munros are well known, I hope this book will introduce walkers to many lesser but equally satisfying peaks.

Coire Fee and Glen Doll

Coire Fee and Glen Doll

After many days wandering the mountains and valleys with notepad and camera in hand and countless hours tapping away at the computer keyboard with a ready supply of coffee close by, the end result is now at hand – Walking in the Angus Glens was published by Cicerone in June. The book covers the five main glens – Isla, Prosen, Clova, Lethnot and Esk – and contains 30 routes ranging from mountain ascents to linear hikes following the ancient Mounth highways linking Angus and Aberdeenshire. Lots of info on the book, including a sample route, can be found here.

Highland Hermit Brought to Book

Our popular book Highland Hermit is now available in paperback form. It sold well in Kindle format but following a number of requests we have now published the title in traditional book form. It is available from Amazon priced at £4.99 plus shipping.

The book can also be ordered from CreateSpace by clicking here.

On the same topic, Ghosts of Barlinnie is also available in paperback form, again priced at £4.99 plus shipping, from Amazon and CreateSpace.

The content of both titles is exactly the same as the Kindle versions although all images are reproduced in black and white.

Glen Doll Wild Camping

Glen Doll has long been bereft of a campsite. There used to be one adjacent to the car park but, thanks to some rather rowdy campers and a few too many boozy parties, it closed down (quite a number of years ago now). However, in a bid to fill the void left by its departure, the local ranger service has designated three short stay wild camping sites. They are located in Glendoll Forest adjacent to Jock’s Road (NO 252766), in a former quarry above Acharn (NO 280764) and by the River South Esk south of Moulzie (NO 285768). With no road access, all require a walk in.

Outdoor News

Hutchison Hut | Renovation work is under way on the Hutchison Memorial Hut in the Cairngorms. The Mountaineering Council of Scotland reported that the hut will be temporarily closed from August 31, 2012, and is not expected to re-open until September 16, although that date may depend on how the project progresses. For a report and photos on progress to date, visit Neil Reid’s excellent Cairngorm Wanderer blog.

Sandwood Bay | Another phase of repair work to the Sandwood Bay access path has just been completed by contractors working for landowner the John Muir Trust. The latest upgrade concentrated on a 450 metre stretch of trail which runs along the edge of Loch a’ Mhuilin. For a full report and photos visit the John Muir Trust site.