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Forfar beats expectations

Forfar beats expectations


Postby denfinella » Tue Dec 03, 2013 1:52 pm

Route description: Forfar Loch circuit, Forfar

Date walked: 23/11/2013

Time taken: 1.5 hours

Distance: 4 km

Ascent: 10m

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What does Forfar mean to you? A milestone on the A90 on the way to somewhere in the southern Cairngorms? Or the handy McDonalds next to one of the slip roads, perfect for pre-walk breakfasts?

If you live in Forfar I don't mean to cause offence in any way, but (to me at least) it's not the sort of place you'd come to spend a day in. Except that's what we did on this sunny weekend, forced low by snow on the mountains, and south by cloudier conditions in the northern Cairngorms. And what a great day we had!

Turning off the A90 onto the B9128, the outside temperature reading on the car suddenly plummeted 5 degrees. It had been a warm drive down from Aberdeen, but immediately the grass by the sides of the road, and even some of the road itself, was coated with thick, thick frost as we left the dual carriageway. Forfar seems to be something of a frost hollow - it faces NNE and therefore doesn't catch any morning sun, instead being sheltered by Balmashanner Hill, which we'd be exploring later.

After an accidental visit to Forfar Loch caravan park (complete with decidedly chilly ducks), we parked correctly at the loch visitor centre and set off around the waters edge. The loch was mostly frozen, with most of the birds confined to the small areas of open water.

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The alternation of shade and sunlight led to some beautiful contrasts in colours. The people of Forfar really are lucky to have this place on their doorstep. The only drawback was the noise from the nearby A90, but it also reminds you how it's still possible to find natural beauty in the middle of manmade territory. There were a few good views south to the snowy Cairngorm foothills.

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It was one of those beautifully clear days that you only really seem to get in winter.

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On the return part of the walk, close to the boathouse, there was an intriguing stone set beneath a tree. Out came the smartphone, and good internet reception thanks to Forfar's proximity allowed us to find out all about the Forfar witches - an interesting, although obviously tragic story.

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The north side of the loch was sunnier than the south side, so we'd warmed up slightly upon reaching the car. A quick drive across town took us to Restenneth Priory, preserved by Historic Scotland, and another jewel in Forfar's crown.

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It was time for lunch. More later!

Afternoon: Balmashanner Hill: http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=38339
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denfinella
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Location: Edinburgh

Re: Forfar beats expectations

Postby Gordie12 » Tue Dec 03, 2013 9:20 pm

Lived near Forfar for 11 years now - never walked round the loch (looks quite good!).
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Gordie12
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Re: Forfar beats expectations

Postby RicKamila » Thu Dec 05, 2013 11:07 am

Forfar is a beautiful place. Yes, it is known mostly for the Macca's on the dual carriageway, but the town is lovely. I would highly recommend a restaurant called Chapter and Verse. If you park in the main carpark and head up the laneway to the main street and turn left, walk past the Clydesdale Bank and you'll see it on the opposite side of the road just before The Stag. Never had a bad meal there in the 6 times we have been.
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RicKamila
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