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. Hi Anabel – another delightful walk – love the name Scurdie … sad to see the painted stones remembering loved ones – such a terrible time for so many. Thanks for showing us the washing! and the other photos – cheers Hilary


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