Doing the Strathmartine Stroll

Woke up this morning and looked out the window to see a winter wonderland all the way up the Sidlaws. During the night it had snowed, and there was a light sprinkling of about a quarter inch on the ground. Not being a great fan of the stuff in the city, I nevertheless do like it in the country, and as my morning walk was taking me into the country, its presence put me in a very good spirit indeed. I leapt out of bed, ran downstairs, made coffees, teas and toasts for assorted family members (myself included), fed Mizzy, put my hiking boots on, wrapped myself up nice and warm and set out with no clear idea of where my walk would take me. As it happened, I wandered off in the direction of Bridgefoot, although, not wanting to simply repeat yesterday's walk (albeit in the opposite direction), I cut off along a farm track just before I left the county of Dundee for that of Angus. The weather was wonderful, if a little cold, and the only people I met along the way were people out walking their dogs. I enjoy the cameraderie that is inherent to walking, for once you are in the country - even if you are only a stone's throw from the city's suburbs, people tend to become more friendly, and complete strangers greet you as you pass by. I like the civility of it, and the way there seems to be an unspoken, but widely understood, rule as to when this behaviour kicks in. For example, the newsagent's shop is barely 500m from the end of the city: a row of houses then we are in fields. No-one would dream of saying 'hello' to a complete stranger outside the shop, or anywhere along the row of houses; however, walk on a few hundred yards, then cut down the farm track, and all of a sudden everyone you meet is greeting everyone else. Very strange, but, as I said, very nice. My walk took me up along snow covered paths, then along snow covered lanes beside fields that were blanketed. I cut through a small wood, then climbed the embankment at Clatto Reservoir and walked along the path to the small jetty. I stood there for about 30 minutes just watching the swans, ducks and assorted sea-birds. I was totally enthralled and completely forgot that there were people waiting at home for the rolls, milk and newspapers I had promised to pick up. So, day 2 of my walking regime went well. Weather permitting, day 5 will be spent wandering along the Arbroath cliffs with Gavin (and any other Scottish Pbaser who wants to join us). As for days 3 and 4... well, we'll just play them by ear.


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