WAY back when walking was the standard mode of transport, not a pastime, areas of low-lying land next to the sea were viewed as the poorest – unsuitable for building on or growing crops; only cattle would use it.
But nearly 300 years ago, this land suddenly found value, as golf links. And these courses are now listed among the iconic global sporting venues.
Scotland is the home of links golf, and Carnoustie saw the country’s last winner of the Open Championship, Paul Lawrie, in 1999.
But away from the sporting triumphs, and losses, the links offer great walks. Golfers don’t like the rough but with the sand dunes it can be home to an array of wild flowers. Meanwhile, birdsong fills the air as sea views add to the sense of wide open space.
You might be walking next to an international sporting arena, but it is the countryside that comes to the fore.
DISTANCE 4 miles.
HEIGHT CLIMBED Negligible.
TIME 1½ to 2 hours.
MAP OS Landranger 54.
PARKING Turn off Carnoustie’s main street – the A930 – and drive down Ferrier Street towards the seafront. After passing below a railway line, go straight ahead at a crossroads to reach a large car park.
IN SUMMARY Head to the end of the car park and take a path going left, towards the sea. At a junction of paths, go right and continue past the end of the beach. At the end of a large tarred area, cross a bridge and go left to follow a narrow path to the dunes. (If you find yourself on the golf course, you have not turned left quickly enough after the bridge.)
The path veers right. When you reach the golf links again, bear left along a track. A little further on is the entrance to the MoD’s Barry Buddon firing range. Ignore this and follow the track round to the right. It eventually swings right to reach a junction – go left here.
After a few hundred yards, the track turns right, away from the firing range fence, and reaches a pond. Take your time here, it is currently home to many young frogs.
Because of major works here, retrace your steps for about half a mile. At a flag pole on the firing range, next to a ‘Barry North’ sign, take a metalled path across the links. Take care here, as you pass a tee. Go right to follow a path next to the links course all the way to a cycle track in front of a railway line, where you go right.
Follow the track to Golf Street station and go right. Go left at a junction to reach the Oxford Hotel. Go left at the far side of the hotel to reach the car park.
REFRESHMENTS The obvious place is the Oxford Hotel, overlooking the famous 18th green of the championship course.
WHILE IN THE AREA Just outside Carnoustie is the working 19th-century Barry Mill, one of only a few remaining in Scotland.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 8 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
Wind direction: West