The Caterthuns

Angus and Dundee: 40 Coast and Country Walks coverMy girlfriend and I have set ourselves a little challenge, to complete all the walks in the book Angus and Dundee: 40 Coast and Country Walks.

Our next trip was to the Caterthuns, a pair of iron age forts near Edzell. Access by road is fairly easy, as you can park exactly between the two hills. Upon arrival, I immediately felt slightly disappointed as they did not look particularly challenging.

View of White Caterthun from Brown Caterthun

The hills rise only approximately 55 metres above the road. The pair could easily be conquered in about 40 minutes, including lengthy breaks to explore around the tops and take in the views.

View from White Caterthun

The views were fair, but not exactly spectacular. The cloudy weather probably didn’t help. But it was difficult to see anything of great note.

As the road starts between the two forts, you can choose to do one or the other first. We opted to start with White Caterthun, named because of the light colour of the stones. As you enter a gate, an information board educates you on what exactly the Caterthuns are.

Well on White Caterthun

Although the forts are well preserved, not much appears to be known about them. Archaeological investigations have apparently yielded little. However, one notable feature of White Caterthun is the large hole in the ground, thought to have been used as a well or cistern.

It takes only around five minutes to scale White Caterthun. Nevertheless, it is the more spectacular of the two. It is more well defined, and has the better views.

Brown Caterthun takes longer to walk, and it is so gradual that it is rather difficult to know when you have reached the top. It is also difficult to see much beyond Brown Caterthun itself. In contrast to its partner, Brown Caterthun is formed of earth embankments.

No doubt the fact that such ancient forts are so well preserved is rather impressive. But anything you can say about their function appears to be little more than speculation. So little is known about them that I found it difficult to relate to them.

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