Sunday 21 October 2012

An Angus Bike Ride

We've just spent the October holidays in Angus. We had rather mixed weather while there but late one afternoon during a dry spell I was able to get out on my bike and take a trip down memory lane - this being the area I grew up in and where I first enjoyed escaping out on a bike and discovering the beauty of the local countryside.

While I was doing some internet research of the area before we left home (it's been a few years since we'd last visited this part of the world - I no longer have any relatives who live here so have no family obligation to visit, trips here are purely for pleasure!) I realised there was a section of road close by that although I thought I'd cycled it, I hadn't, as I would have remembered it I'm sure. All will become clear...

Off we go. Hmmm, I wonder if I'll see any deer.

Lovely little ridge of trees on the horizon, a golden field to the foreground.

It's been raining all day till now, so all is rather wet. The road winds up the hill past the farm.

Bale view, tree ridge again.

Looking south. It's difficult to capture how vast the views are here. It's different from where we stay now - there's much more colour in the landscape at this time of year for a start as it's an arable farming area. Also the views are more expansive - there is a large wide valley (the strathmore, "strath" meaning wide bottomed valley and "more" meaning big) along which you can see for miles. I'm about to leave the strath and head into the hills at the northern side.

The tower you can just make out atop the wooded hill on the far right is the Airlie Monument.

Lovely peaceful country lanes.

Dumpy heather topped hills. This is looking towards Catlaw which is 2201ft (671m) high, and which I climbed many years ago with my Dad. I've just discovered it's a Graham - "Munros are the most significant hills in Scotland at over 3000 feet (914.4 m), Corbetts are hills in Scotland between 2500 and 3000 feet (762 and 914.4 m) and Grahams are hills in Scotland between 2000 and 2500 feet (609.6 and 762 m)".

I'm rather taken by the little grey house on the hill.

Here you can see it again, and also the road I'm on - "wheeeee" down to the corner.

One last time. I like the mix of colours.

Now along a little glen for a few miles. Again, the colours of the landscape are gorgeous even though the light levels aren't great with it being so overcast.

Interesting clouds to the southwest.

Striped barn.

Right! Here we have the first sign of the "highlight" of my bike ride. I think I would have remembered seeing these impressive gate houses before. They're in a sorry state now though.

Peeking past the leftmost gate tower you can just make out some spooky looking towers in the distance.

Before we get any closer let's admire the sunbeams.

And here we have it...

...Balintore Castle. Back in the days when I lived near here this castle was an abandoned ruin - you could get in it and have a look around - how fascinating would that have been? (Actually, you can get a wee look inside here, great stuff!) However, as I said, for some reason I never actually made it along this road at the time and to me it lay undiscovered till now. A few years ago the castle was purchased and it is now slowly being restored.

You can read all about the restoration here as the new owner has a blog. In the past such buildings would have just been demolished, I think it's good that it's being preserved. It's an amazing looking building - someone's idea of a fairytale castle. Like many of it's time it was built as a hunting lodge back when much of Scotland was used as a playground for British aristocracy (which led me to this rather scholarly but still interesting article about land ownership in Scotland). The original owner of the castle when construction was started in 1859, David Lyons, has been described variously as a "considerable marriage prize" and a "misogynist (who) bankrupted his family by spending his fortune on this folly... so his future widow would not benefit from his demise."

A nearby cottage.

Further on, a look back at the castle.

Now to Lintrathen Loch (and roads I have cycled many times).

The promised sunshine is making a brief appearance.

Looks like we'll be in for a nice sunset.

Birdie perched on barbed wire.

Wild geese.

Gorgeous views over the fields to the hills, here looking north east... to the south east.

North east again, a little further on, there's snow on some of the hills.

It's getting a little dark for being out without lights. I'm sticking to the back roads to keep out the way of any traffic. I like how some of the bales catch the light of the setting sun. I also spot a deer in the field and reckon that if it senses me it will make for cover in the woods across the road. I keep my camera ready...


More sunset on bales.

Almost "home", the sky is looking a little wintry now.

Here is the Airlie monument again this time on the far left, to it's right are more snowy hills.

And a last look at the sunset over some muddy puddles.

I only managed out for one bike ride while we were away, We did visit lots of other local attractions and you can be sure I took lots of photos. More to follow.

Now for catching up with some blog reading...


* said...

Wow, wow, wow! I love these pictures...the castle is amazing...what a discovery, the gate joms are impressive enough on their own. The colours in the landscapes really catch my painters eye, the blue evening skies and the gold of the corn fields, the bales...perfect.

Neighborhood Watch said...

I love castles and pondering the whole idea of how people actually lived in them. Lucky you to have them (real ones!) so near.

Rebecca said...

What a beautiful looking place and that castle looks incredible! x

rockinloubylou said...

love the deer gotcha. That castle is amazing. I was listening to Dracula on radio 4 yesterday and after that there is no way I'd have been going anywhere near a ruined castle, alone, in the gathering dusk....

Gillian Roe said...

Great post! THat info about Balintore castle is looks like a haunted house from a horror film at the moment! I am so glad it is being restored. It will be quite a building when it is completed.

Lovely sunset - it is looking very wintery indeed.

Anonymous said...

I never tire of seeing Scottish scenery, it is so very beautiful. I have only ever been to the western side so it was lovely to see the other side.

I shall now go to read about the castle, thanks for the link.

Anonymous said...

Andamento, I grew up in Angus too, as did Rob. Did you go to Forfar Academy? If yes, my Dad was head of art there for quite a while - funny if he taught you! Let me know. great photos and know those glens so well and miss them. My parents and parents-in-law still live there.

Beth of The Linen Cat said...

Beautiful scenery and fabulous colours. So nice to see the castle is being restored, it much be a huge undertaking but I always feel a bit sad when I see buildings becoming derelict so good on someone for taking it on. Bet it's amazing once completed. Off to look at the blog now!

Bethx (thelinencat)

Simone said...

So many wonderful photos to look at and each one worthy of comment. The castle looks fantastic and indeed like something from a fairytale.

Mrs. Micawber said...

What a stunning set of photos! That castle looks most Gothic, especially in the shot with birds flying over.

The deer on your signs have very impressive antlers. And congratulations on snapping a real live one! I can never get a clear deer shot.

Love the patchwork fields, the bales, the changing colours of sky, and the birdie on the fence.

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