Montrose, Angus

Location: Usan & Montrose, Angus| Time: afternoon

I had Saturday off and so thought I’d take father for his walk! It was very foggy in Perth and just as bad in Dundee so I was dubious about what we could do. However the closer I got to the coast the brighter it got.

By the time I got to dads place the sun was shining and the temperature had slipped to 0 degrees. After he’d loaded up my new calendars and we had a brief discussion about what to do, we headed to Arbroath for some brunch. We stopped at our favourite cafe, the 255 coffee house (pretty sure that’s what it’s called, never really pay attention to names) which is overlooked by the abbey.

After our bellies were full we headed out to Montrose as I always miss being at the coast. We took the back roads like always and ended up at Usan which is just before Montrose. The whole place consists of a farm, a broken down and in ruins mill and a few cows. Oh and the sea of course. Us being Kelmans and made for walking we headed up to the next headland which is Seaton of Usan.

It’s an easy walk but do have to climb into a field at one point. All the way along the coast there were fishermen doing their thing regardless of the bitter cold. I had 3 tops on under my jacket, arm warmers and 2 pairs of gloves (including glittens), a hat and a big scarf and the customary 2 pairs of socks and jeans of course and I was still cold.

Old Morris Minor deserted at Seaton of Usan
Old Morris Minor deserted at Seaton of Usan

On reaching Seaton of Usan we felt we had walked into a very bad ghost movie. The place was not just deserted, but in ruins. rows of cottages were missing their roofs and windows, a tower was an empty shell full of broken glass. There were cars all over the place in various states of disrepair, none of which were anywhere near modern and 2 of which were under a large Soltaire.

Old anchors littered the place and random bits of machinery lay around like strewn cushions. The only sign of life were the fishermen, one of which walked towards the cliff face and out of sight, never to be seen again. No idea where he went there was only the 2 paths down, we were on one and the other was in sight and the rest was just rugged cliff, very odd!

So being Kelmans and being brave (or stupid, not sure which!) we decided to climb our way around the cliff front to see what lay behind. However this part was out of the sun so was even colder, very damp and very slippy. Fortunately I’m good with climbing cliffs thanks to dad taking us around Seaton cliffs at Arbroath when I was young and forgetting to watch the tide, stranding us in a bay with the only way out was up! Once out from the shade the coast looked stunning with the soft light highlighting peaks on the cliffs all the way down to Arbroath. Beautiful.

We headed up steps, well more dents in the muddy, grassy slope to get a better view. How did those fishermen get all their gear down there and how do they get it and their catch back up?

Looking from Seaton of Usan towards Lunan bay
Looking from Seaton of Usan towards Lunan bay

We took the top field route back to Usan and decided to try and get some twilight shots at Montrose basin. So off we went. We parked at the station and cut down passed the don’t go here sign to the basin itself. The sunset was stunning and we got there just at the perfect time. It was worth the slowly sinking into the wet sand and the little ‘get sand off shoes’ dance we did back on the platform. Pretty sure the passengers awaiting their train thought we were mad! Then it was to Arbroath for an early dinner and to warm up. All in all a good, if cold day. Usan is beautiful though a little creepy and full of mysteries waiting to be solved.

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