Friday, 25 September 2015


Bridge of Don → Newburgh

sunrise-with-dog.jpg Distance: 11.16 miles
Ascent: 29 metres
Duration: 3 hours 1 minute

Where the Ythan meets the ocean
« Aberdeen | Cruden Bay »

em-balmedie.jpg(In order to fit in with the tides and public transport logistics, we've split today's walk into two parts and walked them "out of order". This is the more northerly of the two walks, but the one we did first.)

There can be few walks better than this morning's.

ythan-seals.jpgWe were on the beach within metres of leaving the car, stayed on the sand for ten linear miles, passed only one other person, watched the sun rise over ships at sea then finished by a seal colony at a river mouth. (When the seals noticed that we'd stopped to watch them they splashed into the water a dozen at a time to get a closer look at us.)

But there was a catch.
(There's always a catch.)

Behind the dunes in recent years a struggle has been going on, and of late it seems the vandals have won. From the beach it's visible in one place, where the subtle tones of the marram grass are rudely interrupted by a garish green.

balmedie.jpgIf you don't know the story of the bulldozing of the Menie Links by an egotistical American businessman, watch Antony Baxter's films You've Been Trumped and A Dangerous Game. Or read our friend Alistair McIntosh's bardic declamation, O Donald Trump, Woe Donald Trump or relevant posts on land expert Andy Wightman's blog.

We just hope that Karine Polwart's vision comes true, that natural forces will cause the dunes to reclaim the greens:

The tide still ebbs and flows
where the Ythan meets the ocean.
Not even God himself
could stop the northerlies from blowing.
You can tear these dunes asunder,
pound this wonder into dust
with your cruel hands and crooked hearts
laden with lust and expensive lies
but the haar will stumble in to cover your eyes.
The haar will stumble in

Karine Polwart - Cover Your Eyes

Notes for future walkers:

  • We saw no indication that the beach beneath Blackdog Ranges is ever closed.
  • Leave the River Ythan by the boathouse to find the golf club road.
  • Where the road bears left (NK 000 249), pick up a path running north to a bridge over the Foveran Burn at NK 000 252. (The footbridge further to the north seemed to be closed.)

Posted by pab at 19:11 | Comments will be back one day. Please email me instead!