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Roger Smith has written an excellent “Essential Guide to Finishing Points” for the TGO Challenge but to slightly misquote Alice in Wonderland: “what is use is a book that has no pictures”. As I’ve visited lots of the places on his list as I’ve wandered up and down the east coast, I thought I’d write a pictorial guide.

The first two parts focused on places between Aberdeen and Cowie, to the north of Stonehaven (Part 1) and then on Stonehaven and Dunnotar. In this post, I’ve included some pics of places between Crawton, just south of Dunnotar, and Nether Warbuton, near Montrose.

Crawton

There’s a cliff path from Dunnotar to Crawton through the bird reserve. Not much at Crawton itself but great views to the south. You need to walk back to the main road to get the bus.

From Crawton looking south.

From Crawton looking south.

Catterline

Catterline is the next village down the coast. The village itself is now a commuter village at the top of the cliffs with a sharp drop to the sea. It has a good pub (the Creel Inn) that specialises in fish dishes but I don’t think there’s a shop. The food in the Creel is very good but I find the bar a bit dark. Unfortunately there’s no outside seating with sea views.

Catterline Bay from the top of the cliffs outside the Creel Inn

Catterline Bay from the top of the cliffs outside the Creel Inn

It’s a short walk down to the beach. For geology buffs, Catterline has some of the best examples of conglomerate rock I’ve ever seen.

Catterline beach with conglomerate stack

Catterline beach with conglomerate stack

Kinneff

I went to Kinneff specially before I wrote this. Roger says ‘no easy access’. This is an understatement – I couldn’t find any way down although I have to admit I didn’t spend too long trying. As Roger says, the church is perhaps the most interesting feature of Kinneff.

Kinneff Kirk

Kinneff Kirk

Inverbervie

Inverbervie is the largest town between Stonehaven and Montrose with a full range of shops. It was a fishing village but I don’t think there’s any fishing there now. But there’s still the old boat winches on the beach.

I’ve been there a couple of times but my view is jaundiced by the fact that when we went there on a cold Sunday afternoon after walking along the coast, nothing was open. So I can’t say anything about my eating and drinking experiences. The Bervie Chipper, as Roger says, has won awards but rumour has it that it has gone downhill recently.

Inverbervie

Inverbervie beach

 

Gourdon

Gourdon is still a working fishing village with a few fishing boats in the harbour. The Harbour Bar is a good pub but, sadly, Hornblower, which was an outstanding fish and chip shop is no more. It has been renamed the Quayside Restaurant and, on our one visit, I didn’t think the menu was as interesting as Hornblower and the quality was not up to scratch. However, reviewers on Tripadvisor say it has improved so maybe worth trying.

Gourdon Harbour

Gourdon Harbour

Johnshaven

Johnshaven is a large village just south of Gourdon. It’s a bit more developed than some of the other possible finishing places but has a very attractive, working harbour.

Johnshaven harbour

Johnshaven harbour

Like Gourdon, it’s still a working fishing village although I suspect that most residents are commuters, south to Montrose or north to Aberdeen. There’s a pub (the Anchor Hotel), a shop and you can get the bus outside the pub to Montrose.

Lobster soup from the Anchor Hotel in Johnshaven

Lobster soup from the Anchor Hotel in Johnshaven

I strongly recommend planning your arrival in Johnshaven for lunchtime and then going to the Anchor Hotel. It’s a great wee bar with friendly owners and excellent food. The lobster soup is simply the best fish soup that I’ve ever had. The rest of the food is pretty good too.

Tangle Ha’

Tangle Ha'

Tangle Ha’

Tangle Ha’ is a great name but I think it is a rather unprepossessing place. Stony beach, dull harbour and no cliffs.

St Cyrus

St Cyrus is perhaps the most popular Challenge finishing place and rightly so. The views from the cliffs are absolutely superb and Wednesday and Thursday sees lots of people on the beach taking pictures of each other.

Challengers on St Cyrus beach

Challengers on St Cyrus beach

 

The beach stretches to the River North Esk and you can walk along to Nether Warbuton (and probably to Montrose but I’m not sure about that – you need to cross the river).

Looking south towards Montrose from the St Cyrus cliffs

Looking south towards Montrose from the St Cyrus cliffs

There’s an excellent coffee shop on the way to the beach and a pub across the road which I haven’t been in. Advice from an experience Challenger was that if there are 3 or 4 of you, it’s not much more expensive to take a taxi to Montrose rather than wait for the bus.

Nether Warbuton

I’m not sure that Nether Warbuton is really that different from St Cyrus – basically, it’s just along the beach but it does not require a traipse down the cliffs. There’s a visitor centre for the nature reserve there and a junkyard which has the biggest collection of absolute crap that I have ever seen (my daughter loves going there). It’s a nice beach.

The beach at Nether Warbuton

The beach at Nether Warbuton

Nowhere to eat but if you go back to the bridge over the River North Esk then walk a bit down the road towards Montrose, the Charleton Fruit Farm has a cafe that does very good and reasonable meals.

Other places

Kinnebar Links are on the south side of the River North Esk – I’ve never been there but some people finish there. You can see it on the St Cyrus picture – the bit across the river.

I haven’t really ventured much south of Montrose so I can’t illustrate these places yet. If I get the chance in the next few months, I’ll try and get there. Lunan Bay is a fabulous beach.

Lunan Bay

Lunan Bay

North of Aberdeen, Balmedie has fabulous sand dunes and Collieston is a lovely village. Again, I don’t have so many pictures but I might manage some coastal walking there over the winter.

 

8 Responses to “Finishing the Challenge Part 3: Crawton to Nether Warbuton”

  1. Andrew W says:

    Excellent.

    But I may have to rethink my finish point now 🙂

  2. AlanR says:

    Thanks Ian. Always handy information. A good set of planning posts. The cafe at the Charleton fruit farm was frequented by JJ and myself and is excellent. We finished at Kinnibar Links and its a pleasant stroll to the sea with no cliffs.

  3. alan.sloman says:

    I’ve had Lunan Bay on my route sheet twice, but never got there (St Cyrus & Nether Warburton instead). Lunan Bay does have an excellent new cafe on the beach that gets very good reviews.

    But it’s Johnshaven for Phil & me this time, for the soup.
    Thanks Ian.
    🙂

  4. Johnshaven, soup, mmmm, looks good.

  5. Jeremy Burrows says:

    Thank you, Ian, for a wonderful set of photos and descriptions.

    It’s Lunan Bay for me this year. I’ve arranged for a rather attractive young lady to be waiting with an MG to pick me up and whisk me off to the Park, too.

  6. […] Part 2: Stonehaven and Dunnotar Part 3: Crawton to Nether Warbuton […]

  7. […] Part 1: Aberdeen to Stonehaven Part 3: Crawton to Nether Warbuton […]

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