Lunan Bay

By Colin Hogarth

For a perfect summer stroll head for Lunan Bay on the Angus coast. The two mile-long swath of golden sand stretches between steep, craggy headlands where the North Sea breakers roll in. Perched above the dunes is the dramatic sandstone ruin of Red Castle and, further along, a pair of tiny hamlets forgotten by the passage of time.

Head out of the Lunan Bay car park, back up the access track to the hamlet of Lunan. When you reach the road, turn left and follow it south, past the entrance to Lunan House Nursing Home and then a church and graveyard. The road curves sharp left and then right to cross the Lunan Water by an old stone bridge. Stay with the tree-lined lane as it skirts between open fields to a copse of tall trees where a path bears left.

This rises quite steeply, passing through a metal gate, to Red Castle. The elevated position affords fine views north over the twisting mouth of the Lunan Water, and east out to sea.

The path skirts between the two main portions of the castle before descending steeply (stay to the left of the cottages) to the sandy beach below. Wander along the south bank of the Lunan Water towards the sea, passing through a line of old concrete tank traps, then bear right and follow the beach south.

A wide expanse of white sand stretches away into the distance towards the headland at Ethie Haven, about a mile and a half away. The walking is easiest if you stick to the hard sand near the waters' edge. The large nets pegged out in the sea here are used to catch salmon, luring the unsuspecting fish in and trapping them as the tide recedes.

A couple of small streams are crossed as you progress south and, as the field on the right below the farm at Redcastle gives way to a rougher slope of grass and spiky gorse, the squat lines of a bomb-proof brick and concrete war-time look-out post embedded into the slope can be seen.

About half a mile on, you reach Corbie Knowe, a rather rustic and hap-hazard settlement of beach huts, cabins and caravans jostling for position at the south end of the bay. There's no mains electricity here, ensuring it remains unspoilt by such modern day intrusions as TV and telephones - an idyllic place to escape to!

Head up the beach to a small parking area and between two large concrete blocks on the left a narrow gravel path leads to a wooden footbridge spanning a burn where young fish can sometimes be seen basking in the rays of the sun on a warm day. Cross and a path rises behind the huts to the top of the cliffs, skirting above the south end of the bay to reach a more substantial farm track.

Carry straight on here, the way lined by red campion and tall grasses swaying in the salty breeze. The track soon descends to Ethie Haven, a hamlet of old stone cottages built originally to house fishermen and their families. Time has passed this place by, to the extent that mains electricity only reached Ethie Haven within the last few years.

You can make your way a little further along the coast by following a grassy path below a line of wooden huts to a couple of tiny pebble beaches sheltered under the headland beyond. Here the route ends and the best way back is to retrace your steps. At low water it is possible to paddle over the mouth of the Lunan Water, thereby cutting out the climb up to Red Castle and the trek along the road back to the car park.


Distance 6 miles/10km.
Map OS Landranger 1:50,000 sheet 54. ;
Start Lunan Bay public car park, Lunan (grid ref 692515). ;
Parking Free parking at the start. ;
Grading An easy walk suitable for the whole family. Take care on the cliff-top path above Corbie Knowe as there is a fairly long drop.