A BEACH walk as winter starts can be exhilarating. Cold wind whipping up the sea and a vast expanse of sand to wander along is the perfect antidote to short days. Walking along Lunan Bay a couple of weeks ago with snow forecast and my jacket fully zipped up, it appeared there are still other ways to enjoy the coast.
A group of surfers from Dundee University were bobbing like seals, braving the cold to enjoy some good waves.
While jumping in the water may not be to everyone’s taste, the beach is where semi-precious stones can be found. Dominating is the 12th century Red Castle. Built to repel invading Norsemen, it is a great viewpoint.
You may not want to take a bucket and spade at this time of year but you will certainly enjoy a walk along the sands.
DISTANCE 6 miles.
HEIGHT CLIMBED Negligible except a short, steep climb up to Red Castle and possibly up on to the cliff top at the southern end of the bay.
TIME 3∫ to 4∫ hours.
MAP OS Landranger 54.
PARK North of Inverkeilor on the A92 between Arbroath and Montrose turn off at a sign for Lunan. Once in the village turn left then right, following a sign for the beach down a farm road. At the end is a car park next to sand dunes.
IN SUMMARY Follow a boardwalk up and over the dunes to reach the beach. Go left to go to the northern end of Lunan Bay. From the far end follow the beach back to the car park – as there is no safe way of crossing the Lunan Water where it empties across the beach and into the North Sea it is necessary to go through the pretty village to walk the whole length of the bay. This is no real chore, however, as the route does also include very quiet country lanes and a ruined castle.
Follow the private road you drove in on and at its end turn left. Pass Lunan Church, cross a bridge over Lunan Water and as the road starts to go uphill into trees take a path on the left, between two fences and through a small gate to Red Castle. Go right from the ruined castle to drop down a path to reach a small metal gate with a track beyond. (Don’t walk straight over the hill and down the steep slope facing the coast.) Turn left to follow the track to its end, past cottages. At the bottom go through a gap next to a gate, then turn left to go down to the beach.
Go right to follow the beach all the way to the southern end of the bay. At this point you can return to the car park or leave the beach next to a whitewashed wall and turn left along a path which crosses a burn. The path leads up and to the left (behind wooden huts) to walk along the cliff top, where you get a great view back over Lunan Bay. Retrace your steps to the car park.
REFRESH The Lunan Bay Diner is near the car park.
WHILE YOU ARE IN THE AREA Arbroath Abbey (www.historic-scotland.gov.uk) – with its declaration history – is close.