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My vetted route sees me spend a night in Fetteresso Forest en route to Dunnottar Castle finish.
My vetter (Colin C) has encouraged me to visit the summit Clachnaben the previous day. The upshot is that I could now clear Fetteresso Forest and perhaps hit the coast S of Donnattar Castle and enjoy a longer coastal section to finish. That would entail me stopping in the open countryside of what I could describe as the A90 corridor.
Anyway , in England (or Wales) I would happily wander up to a farm and ask to camp on their land rather than trying to discreetly fly pitch. In sunny Scotland I would assume that is still the accepted protocol. Mind you if anyone has a (not so secret) spot they could recommend that would be great.
your policy of asking in advance is never going to cause any problems. The outdoor access code in Scotland and the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 gives you the right to camp in a lot of places https://tinyurl.com/ycknen25 but if you do ask you might end up getting pointed to a better place than you thought.
I'm a bit confused when you say "hit the coast S of Dunnottar Castle and then talk about a coastal section to finish, are you talking about walking from Dunnottar to Montrose once you have actually hit the coast? There are a lot of little coves with raised beaches all the way down to St. Cyrus.
There is also an excellent little official camp site at the mouth of the river at Inverbervie.
On the other hand you talk about the A90 which runs further inland and further and further from the coast as you go South.
If you post on here or email me more details about where you are planning to camp I can advise you and even do a recce if required.
I'm glad to note that you may take up my suggestion of adding Clachnaben, a decision which you won't regret. On the subject matter of your post, I'd make two observations. Firstly, any approach to a local farmer for permission may well meet with a positive response. Although this is not traditional walking country, folk in this area are familiar with Challengers making for the coast, so they won't be too surprised. Secondly, I've often managed a clandestine pitch when I wasn't sure of where to ask or has simply left it too late in the day to go much further. Patches of woodland are a good bet and if you hide yourself away within them you're unlikely to be challenged and won't cause problems for anyone. The problem here is in securing water, so perhaps the strategy of asking permission is the better option.
Just a warning on the stretch along the coast. I'd guess that your intention is to hit the cliffs somewhere a few miles south of Dunnottar and walk along the edge to the castle. You won't find this to be the same as similar walks in England and Wales, where clear paths are likely to be on offer. If you look closely at aerial imagery, you'll note that fields are planted with crops to the cliff edge and there's usually only a narrow strip of grass between the fence and the drop off. There may be a path or reasonable passage in places, but not in others, and you could find yourself being forced to cross into the crop or pasture fields in sections. Beware of barbed wire or - worse- electric fences; it's useful to have a piece of closed cell foam to cushion your vulnerable areas from damage! And note too the many headlands and deep cut clefts in the cliffs; direct progress won't be possible and shortcuts through planted fields won't be viable, so what looks like a short distance could turn out to be a long way.
I've probably put you off now!
I understand now, you want to walk northwards up the coast to the castle.
As Cplin says, apart from the short section just south of the castle you are talking about a bit of an assault course. Excellent views and interesting places such as Fowlsheugh and a cracking pub at Catterline but there is no official path. You can normally stick to the field boundary but you may find yourself plodding through a freshly ploughed field or neck high oilseed rape.
There is a good coastal path south of Inverbervie to Tangleha' at the northern end of St Cyrus beach but, apart from the first 1/2 km, north of Bervie it is "Who dares wins".
Thanks everyone for your responses.
I'd looked at the aerial imagery and thought I could see a path, but your comments and expectation setting are most welcome. The closed cell mat has been used similarly in the past .. normally when you can't clearly discern which side of the hedge/fence that OS green dashed line runs only to find it clearly wasn't the side you picked and the field style sits enticingly in the adjacent field while you're faced with a challenging fence to negotiate.
Colin, I was drawn to Clachnaben after your suggestion and description of the landscape of the approach. Fingers crossed for decent weather to appreciate it at its best.
While I consider myself one to step out in style (I wish) , you'd have a job scaling a fence in style , much easier with a stile!
If going from Tarfside, I’d recommend heading north on the track up the Water of Tarf (?), then east to walk the whole ‘ridge’ from Craig Soales, over Mount Battock and ending at Clachnaban with your first view of the coast. What a memorable day on my first challenge before tackling the Fetteresso and onto Dunnottar Castle for my finish. I took a bus to Montrose on the main road just south of the castle.
It doesn't sound ideal, but in fact you've picked a good area.
Thought I'd post this for others that may come after.
As Colin says the coastal path north from Crawton soon becomes absent and you're in the field margin. The local farmers aren't on any 'field margin' compensation payment so they are non existent , and I can only admire the skill involved to drill so close the field boundary. None the less a way is possible without destroying precious oats/barley, but not one to do in shorts. Since you stick close to the actual cliff top your distance estimates will be off a fair bit.