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