Chasing Daylight, Arbroath, Scotland, Cliff Walking

Chasing Daylight in Arbroath, Scotland

Chasing Daylight, Arbroath, Scotland, Cliff Walking

“Well, this is some family hike!”

Ben was indignant from the back seat that the family hike we had been planning for over a week for our Valentine’s Day outing was being missed by two members of our family.

Somehow the perfectly reasonable 10am leaving time had become not-so-reasonable to everyone involved, the result being that when the van pulled out of the driveway, we were short a couple of Chinos.

Pressing on, Taido and I did our best to convince Ben and Simon that we would still have a fun day, even if the misty morning was declaring otherwise with regards to weather.

We stopped an hour down the road to collect a picnic lunch and then we were off to walk the coast from Arbroath, a town I have heretofore only known as a stop on the train between Aberdeen and Edinburgh.

Fishermen were working out in the low tide when we arrived, and we quickly climbed above them to walk the cliffs over the North Sea.

Chasing Daylight, Arbroath, Scotland, Cliff Walking

The scale of the sea cliffs is almost impossible to perceive in photos but we were high enough up to make me a tiny bit nervous as the boys ran ahead of us.

The sound of the waves crashing on the rocks below drowned out my voice calling to them to slow down. However, the several miles of trail that run north of Arbroath are actually set further back from the cliff drops than other coastal walks we have done. The first two miles are even paved and there are easy steps down to the sea.

For the most part the boys forgot about their siblings not being along. They ran along the rocky shoreline when the trail dipped down to the bay, stopping now and then for a shell or a bit of sea glass.

Chasing Daylight, Arbroath, Scotland, Cliff Walking

The drizzle that we had driven down in was replaced by the usual cold, wet air but as long as we were walking I was warm. And I am always grateful when it’s not raining.

When we reached Auchmithie, we found a playground where we sat and gobbled up our sandwiches, followed with thermos cups full of gloriously hot tea. Even a short stop in the cold air makes me feel a bit stiff when we start walking again, but I was glad to move to warm back up after lunch.

On the way back we saw folks in kayaks just below the cliffs. I shivered at the thought of being out on the sea where the icy water could splash me. It made me tired to watch them struggle against the waves.

The boys ran most of the way back, reaching the car well before me. (always) We made a couple more stops in Arbroath before heading back up to Aberdeen, one to see the Arbroath Abbey and another to get a taste of the famous Arbroath Smokies. You can buy this delectable smoked fish right near the harbor, not far from where it is caught and prepared. We even took some home to Cole and Mary Polly.

Now when I take the train south from Aberdeen, I will watch more closely when we roll through Arbroath for a glimpse of this trail and for the fisherman who are bringing in the catch for the day.

And this is part of what I love about exploring Scotland this way,

bit by bit on foot.

I feel I am collecting it in my heart, like pieces of a puzzle.

Memories strung across a map.

Meaning given to town names that a year ago I did not know how to pronounce.

I cannot wait to see what we will find next.

You can see more photos from our day out in Arbroath in the Photo Story on Google.

More trail notes and a map of this walk.


  1. A. Chino–
    Thank you! Thank you! For so often and consistently sharing your heart, your intake of the “meod” (muchness) around you, and your family! Such joy to ‘walk with” you at moments…

    C. Roper

    1. Thank you so much for these kind words and for reading along!! It means the world to us!

  2. Yes, bit by bit on foot! In my three months of living in the Scottish Borders, I haven’t been able to venture far, but it’s okay because I am loving the local walks — and there are plenty of them. Your clifftop photos remind me of the scenery at St. Abb’s Head, near me (I highly recommend it!). Now, to buy a thermos…

    1. Yes, Lynn! You’re right. And the Scottish Borders are LOVELY! I will have to check out St Abb’s Head for sure. I assume you’ve already been to Melrose and St Boswell’s. I had the happiest lunch of last spring in a little bookshop in St Boswell’s. Gorgeous area and a great spot if you forget your thermos! 🙂

      1. I love that bookshop! The day I visited it the weather was quite *dreich* so I wasn’t able to do the Dryburgh Abbey walk I’d planned. But I fortified myself with a scone and a pot of rose tea, and I’m excited to be going back with new friends on the 11th to hear John Lister-Kaye talk about his new book. And speaking of St. Abb’s, I went to a wool fest there today, and was it ever fab. Inspired to haul out the knitting needles!

        (Let me know if ever you’re down this way and want to “talk ‘murcan” over a cuppa!)

  3. Beautiful! Even on a drizzly grey day. That window in the rock is cool, and I love smoked fish so much. I will have to add this to my list of places to visit. Thanks!

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