Reekie Linn

The Herald Magazine - - NEWS - CAMERON M NEISH

Lo­ca­tion: An­gus Map: OS Lan­dranger 53 Dis­tance: 2.5 miles (4km) Time: 1-2 hours Grade: Easy walk but care is re­quired near the wa­ter­fall

THE tu­mul­tuous and im­pres­sive Reekie Falls came as a com­plete sur­prise to me. I was vis­it­ing Peel Farm tea­room near Lin­tra­then in An­gus and had asked about walks in the area as I had an hour or two to fill in. I was ad­vised to visit the falls, and I’m glad I did.

Peel Farm is well worth a visit. Other than the cof­fee shop, which serves some of the big­gest slabs of cake I’ve ever seen, there is a farm shop and a craft shop with high­qual­ity gifts and farm pro­duce. There is also an ex­cel­lent lit­tle na­ture trail for the young­sters.

My wife and I left the car park and wan­dered along the quiet road to the left. This is all rolling agri­cul­tural land with a few for­est plan­ta­tions scat­tered here and there. We didn’t have any great ex­pectancy of a wa­ter­fall of dra­matic pro­por­tions. About a mile along the road we turned left on to the B954, which dropped down to the Bridge of Craig­isla. Just be­fore the bridge there is a car park with an in­ter­pre­ta­tion board on the left. This is the start of the short walk to the steep edge that of­fers views of the linn. A path went through the gate at the far end of the car park and we fol­lowed it through woods, al­ready well aware of the in­creas­ing roar of the River Isla be­low us.

Short sub­sidiary paths break away from the main path here and there lead­ing to var­i­ous view­points but stick with the main path mean­time. Most of the early view­points are ob­structed to a greater or lesser de­gree by trees and branches so it’s best to con­tinue well past the falls to where there is an ob­vi­ous view­point. Take great care as the soft sand­stone be­comes muddy and slip­pery in wet weather and there is a steep and un­pro­tected drop from the view­point into the gorge.

From this view­point you can look back up­river and get the best im­pres­sion of the linn, two sep­a­rate falls that come to­gether in times of spate to pro­duce a set of thun­der­ous cataracts that are as im­pres­sive as any.

Over the mil­len­nia it’s clear that the wa­ters of the River Isla have carved out this deep and im­pres­sive gorge from the soft sand­stone. It’s reck­oned the two falls have drops of six me­tres and 18 me­tres to a deep, black pool where there is a cave known lo­cally as Black Dub. A lo­cal leg­end sug­gests an out­law used to hide there un­til one day the devil ap­peared in the shape of a huge black dog. The out­law was so fright­ened that he gave him­self up to the au­thor­i­ties. The amount of cas­cad­ing wa­ter cre­ates a thin mist over the falls and this is where the name comes from – Reekie, a misty or smoky linn.

Once you have taken pho­to­graphs of the falls you can ei­ther re­turn the way you came or con­tinue along the river­side path through the woods all the way back to Peel Farm. The path is fairly good although you might have to dodge some stray branches here and there. It works its way up be­side a fence be­tween the woods and farm fields but fur­ther along there is a gate that gives ac­cess to a field mar­gin that takes you back to the farm, and a wel­come cof­fee and cake.

Route: Start and fin­ish at Peel Farm, Lin­tra­then (GR: NO264540). Leave the car park and turn left. Fol­low this road W for about 1.5km, ig­nor­ing a junc­tion to the right. Turn left on to the B954 and go down­hill for a short dis­tance to­wards the Bridge of Craig­isla. En­ter a car park on your left, just be­fore the bridge, and at the far right-hand cor­ner a path runs through a gate high above the River Isla. Fol­low this path through the woods to a view­point. Ei­ther re­turn the way you came or con­tinue E above the river as the path climbs through the trees to the edge of a field and a fence. Fol­low the path along­side the field un­til a gate gives ac­cess to a field mar­gin that can be fol­lowed back to Peel Farm.

Reekie Linn takes its name from the mist which forms over the wa­ter­fall


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