The Blue Door and the Rocks of Solitude

Rocks of Solitude

For our latest Angus and Dundee walk, we decided to go a bit further afield than we have done recently. The Rocks of Solitude are situated at the River North Esk, just north of Edzell, on the border between Angus and Aberdeenshire.

The book recommends parking in a particular layby, but there is only a handful of spaces here. It was a nice day, so the spaces were taken. Luckily, we were able to park round the corner.

You enter the walk at a conspicuous blue door, which leads through to the burnside woodland walk. There is lots of opportunity to explore, and the book suggests going off for the odd detour. For this reason, this was the first walk that actually took us as long as the book says — three hours.

This is a popular salmon fishing area, and apparently it’s a good place to watch the salmon jump upstream. But it is the wrong time of year for that.

The water is a fantastically deep copper colour in these fishing pools.

Red River North Esk

Suspension bridge at River North Esk

Halfway along the walk, you come across the bizarre sight of the remains of an old suspension bridge. Today it is just a frame; impossibly fragile looking for a bridge. But its design looks like it must have been a reasonably significant bridge in its time.

In this area, the water moves with haste and violence — a sign of why it is popular with kayakers. It’s difficult to imagine the tranquility that lies upstream at the Rocks of Solitude. Here, the area gradually becomes more like a canyon, with spectacular cliffs and rocks.

Rocks of Solitude

We began to get a bit lost here. The directions in the book didn’t seem to make sense. So we took the opportunity to explore — another reason why this walk took us three hours.

Lost sheep at the Rocks of Solitude

This sheep certainly was experiencing some solitude. It was clearly very lost, teetering on the edge of the rocks above the fast-flowing river.

The rest of the circular walk is along a road away from the river, and is a great deal less picturesque. The book suggests having a look at Doulie Tower, but we were unable to find it. So it was a long trudge back to the car.

Overall, it was a very enjoyable walk. But if I go again, I would rather go back through the woods, where there is plenty to explore, rather than along the road.

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