Cuthlie Harbour

Seaton Cliffs by Ethie, Angus

It was Saturday, I was off work and the sun was out so I did what I always do at such times and took father out for a walk. We met in the Dundee Botanics like usual and decided as the sun was to the east we would head up the east coast. Keen for an adventure we went somewhere we had never been before and went to the Seaton cliffs on the other side of Ethie.

Our starting point was actually Auchmithie just outside of Arbroath and usually our finishing point on the cliff walk. We had walked to Ethie before form there and like then we  followed the rather overgrown coastal path . However instead of following the road back passed the castle this time we kept going along the path until it ended at the cliff edge. The sign there claimed the path meandered on along the cliffs to Lunan bay and I guess you could call it a path but it looked more like a trail.

Anyway I had noticed the bay called Cuthlie harbour which we were overlooking. It looked inaccessible and fabulous. After some consideration and a good look for a path, after all surely if it was a harbour there must of been a path to it, I noticed what looked like a path a little further back so we investigated and there it was. A few wooden steps leading down. Well ok so they used to be steps but now they were more like random bits of wood hanging on to the eroding cliff side for dear life.

Fantastic! Father wasn’t keen to go down at 1st and not because of the loose stone or the steep drop, but because of all the nettles. But after some persuasion and insisting that the harbour was calling for me – off we went. Wish I had got a shot of the steps and path but really needed both my hands for the climb.

Deserted Harbour and bay

It was an interesting climb down loose scree, stingy nettles and steep slopes, but slowly but surely we made it down. Unfortunately the sunshine had turned into a gray mugginess so not the best light for photos, but it was a wonderful place.

Not sure when the last humans had been down there but there were a few signs people had been there, ashes from a fire in a cave and a few stacked stones. After walking along the deep pebbles to the music of the waves lapping at the shore and pulling the pebbles back to sea, we found what I assume used to be the harbour and now is a step in the sea level.

Kinda cool as when standing at the bottom the sea is above you just waiting to tumble over the top. Continuing down the pebble beach we rounded in to the bay and found goats!!! No idea where they came from or how they got there, but there were about 6 goats grazing on the coarse grass.

So maybe it wasn’t humans that made the fire but very clever goats (or the elves that ride them). Anyway they stared at us for a while before deciding that yes we were scary and they should run away.

After exploring the caves in the bay and throwing stones into the sea to see who could get the best noise we wondered back along the beach. Sounds like a leisurely stroll but you try walking on a deep pebble beach, it’s not easy even if it does make a cool noise.

You just never know which way the pebbles are gonna slip, would like to see anyone trying to be elegant walking along that. At the other end of the bay we found a car graveyard. For some unknown reason there in the middle of nowhere there were at least 4 or 5 rusted and squashed cars littering the beach. Obviously they had been rolled off of the top which explains why the crash barrier had been put there, but why would anyone bring a car so far away to roll it off a cliff, can’t be worth the hassle. They did keep the sofa and fridge company though. Surely less hassle to just take them to the skip.

Then it was time to get back up the steep slippy slope. We followed the goats path who had easily run up and promptly disappeared never to be seen again. It just isn’t as easy for a human though. Father slipped and fell on his bum a few times, which I found funny, but guess should have been concerned about. I did remind him to be careful though. We scrambled through undergrowth back to the ‘steps’.

Now this is where I came in to my climbing element and happily and quickly scrambled up the path using the wooden posts and steps as holds. This all was going very well until disaster struck… The support i was grabbing onto fell away and tumbled down the cliff. Left with no hand hold I grabbed onto the next thing that came to hand, which rather unfortunately was a bed of nettles. Too late I found a better hold. So now my hand stung a lot (and still stings now) but not put off I scrambled to the top and found a dock leaf which didn’t really help.

Storm damage on St Stephens

Once back at the car we decided we deserved some dinner so we headed into Broughty Ferry. Driving was not as easy with a stung hand, especially the gears but I was all hyped from the climb so didn’t really notice it until later. In the Ferry we stopped by St Stephens Church which had been struck by lightning in a recent storm and the steeple had been ripped apart like an angry dragon had taken a dislike to it. Although not good news for the church it was very impressive, the power of nature and all. Had been glad that I was safe at my friends house the night of the storm and had refused to drive home until it subsided.

I left father in the Ferry after we had had dinner in a nice little chippy tearoom and I drove back to Perth to get some photos of the local punk band at rehearsals, but that is another blog! All in all a great day out but not a trip for the faint hearted or unbalanced, and I should remind you all that every year people are killed on the Seaton cliffs by not respecting them and not knowing their limits. So be careful and all, should you follow in my footsteps.

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