Clambering up to a pair of hilltop forts might not seem too tough, but when you’re only three – with wee legs to match – it’s a challenge!
The Brown and White Caterthuns are two Iron Age hill forts in Angus, about five miles outside Edzell, which sit around 1km (0.6 miles) apart on hills overlooking the Strathmore valley.
The Brown Caterthun is the lower, at 287m (941ft) above sea level. The White Caterthun reaches 298m (977ft), with a steeper ascent.
We tackle the Brown Caterthun first – the gently sloping path is muddy in places, with a final, short, steep section up to what would have been the earth ramparts and the summit.
At times Keir and Liam found it tricky traversing the mud, heather and tussocky grasses, but we make it to the summit with dry feet and without too many requests for “a horsey ride”.
On the way up we dodge umpteen gigantic bumblebees who seem to have little respect for social distancing, so intent were they on their quest – collecting nectar from tiny blaeberry flowers.
Stopping to take in the stunning 360-degree views – and, at the kids’ request, to eat a biscuit – we are thankful that the pessimistic weather forecast was wrong.
It’s perfect walking weather – warmish, with fluffy white clouds giving way to occasional rays of sunshine.
With a patchwork quilt of farmland in varying shades of green laid out at our feet, to the east we see all the way to the Montrose Basin, while the north-west gives glimpses of the Angus Glens.
Directly south-west, we spot the ring of stones crowning the White Caterthun.
These panoramic views make the two hills an obvious choice for our ancestors’ forts.
It’s a quick jog back down and, before we know it, we’re on our way up the White Caterthun.
The track is much steeper, but less muddy and more stony. The kids set a fast pace as they want to explore what they think is a “castle” at the top – they’re only a few millennia too late!
Their disappointment was tempered by the discovery of an unusual dark tussock caterpillar crawling around on what would have been the fort. The ring of stones at the summit of the White Caterthun measures up to 12m (37ft) across and up to 3m (10ft) tall in places in its ruined state, and again, there are stunning panoramic vistas.
Leaving the caterpillar to its lunch, it was a fast dash down the track again. Back at the car, it was time for a picnic lunch, much to my husband James’s dismay – crumbs abounded!
We drove back down through the glens to Edzell, where the kids mustered enough energy to while away an hour at the play park there.
We obviously hadn’t tired them out enough – must try harder next time.
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