Ferryden and Scurdie Ness


Ferryden sits on the other side of the River South Esk from Montrose, named for the ferry which was here from at least the late 12th century until about 1940. Our walk started with views over Montrose Harbour, the river estuary – and some local washing!

Our path took us along the estuary to Scurdie Ness and its lighthouse. First we passed an impressive display of painted stones, many referencing Covid and lost loved ones.

Along the way were concrete pillboxes and gun shelters left over from the Second World War. John scrambled down the hill to two gun emplacements, one with a plaque inscribed by its Polish builders. I preferred to stay above photographing daffodils.

Next we reached two conical stone towers, navigational aids designed to assist ships negotiating the estuary. Known as the East and West Beacons they date from the 18th century and were made from rubble and mortar. You can see the lighthouse in the distance in the middle picture below.

The lighthouse at Scurdie Ness has been safely guiding boats into the Port of Montrose for more than 140 years. Built by the Stevenson family, it was first lit in March 1870. It still operates but has been automated since 1987. We could also see passing fishing boats and another aid. The capstan would be used when boats ran aground. A rocket with a line attached would be fired over the stranded ship and a cable hauled on board. Teams of horses harnessed to the capstan would attempt to pull the ship free at high tide.

Rather than return the way we came, we continued round the headland, watching the waves break over the rocks.

In my least favourite part of the walk, we then crossed a very rough, rutted field (blame the cattle) at Mains of Usan to reach a minor road. Some of the farm buildings had what an estate agent might term “potential”.

From here, we returned to Ferryden by road via the village of Usan. It was difficult to avoid the lighthouse though! Still visible above the trees.

This was a lovely, gentle afternoon stroll – about 3.5 miles / 6 km – taken during our stay near Montrose in April. I’m linking it to Jo’s Monday Walks. Our next walk had some very spectacular cliffs. Coming soon(ish).


  1. Apart from the enjoyment of viewing your lighthouse walk; I automatically thought what a lovely way to bring the community together by painting stones while sharing dialogues about loved ones. A cheerful activity to bring together a community.


  2. That’s one part of Scotland I’ve not been round but it looks interesting. I still wear a mask in shops or on public transport since the start as, according to reports, 1 in 18 Scots has covid currently but you wouldn’t think so as very few are still wearing them indoors- less than ten percent at a guess.
    Having had covid this year, luckily just like a cold in effect, I don’t particularly want it again but as soon as they lifted mandatory restrictions 90 percent of the public behaved like a pandemic never existed. Would not be surprised if it evolves further and makes a comeback.


  3. A very interesting walk. I thought the Painted Stones were a lovely idea. As you know I do a fair amount of walking but there is nothing all that interesting. It’s 35 miles from here to the Port and the space between is a Conservation Park ( Wild Dog Hill – No Dogs Allowed) with the remainder fenced off because it’s the Military Playpen and out of bounds. So it’s always good to read your posts.


  4. What a fabulous place, so much history. The painted stones are lovely, even if the message on some is a little sad. Each one representing someone’s time and effort.


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