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Walkers return to Glen Doll in face of Storm Arwen destruction

The B955 road through Kirriemuir towards the glens is flanked by trees uprooted and walls destroyed by Storm Arwen.

That is only a taster of what is to come when the keen walker reaches the Glen Doll car park and spies the trees, snapped in the middle like matches, on the overlooking hillside.

The recently reopened carpark is the starting spot for hikes to Corrie Fee, across Jock’s Road or up the Munros Mayar and Driesh.

It is also a telling illustration of the storm’s legacy two months after it caused devastation along the east coast.

David Duncan, 79, is a member of the Carn Dearg Mountaineering Club.

He is attempting to walk Jock’s Road for first time since the storm with friends and fellow club members Ken Wright, 74, and David Pattie, 65.

“All the times we have come up here. We’ve never seen anything like it,” he says.

Ken picks up the story. “The number of trees that are snapped rather than windblown is phenomenal.”

A previous trip in December last year to the famous Corrie Fee had been difficult for the experienced group.

Ken Wright, David Duncan and David Pattie, Glen Doll Car Park.
Ken Wright, David Duncan and David Pattie, Glen Doll Car Park.

David Pattie: “We were over trees and under trees, round them and on detours. We’re going to try Jock’s Road today.”

I ask if they expected more to have been done to clear the paths and make them safe.

David Duncan: “I would have thought so. I thought someone would have done something. But I suppose there are priorities and there are priorities.

“Though they certainly got the car park open.”

Most of the trails out of the Glen Doll car park remain closed with official advice not to use them.

‘Whole forests flattened’

Callum Johnston, 33, from Blairgowrie, is hoping to guide his younger brother Duncan, 29, up his first Munro.

We spoke as they got their boots on in the Glen Doll car park.

Trees on the way to Corrie Fee snapped like matches.
Trees on the way to Corrie Fee.

Callum says he has never experienced a storm like Arwen before.

“It was the worst I’ve ever seen. We’ve not managed to make it out and about on the hills since. So we’re going on adventure today to see what like, really.

“We saw all the trees down on the way up. We’ve heard the paths were blocked.

“It’s crazy seeing whole forests flattened.”

He says that given the charitable status of many of the organisations who own and manage land more financial help could be made available to support the clean-up operation.

He has bagged 25 Munros and is hoping his brother will get the Munro bagging bug.

“We’re going to try and get my brother his first.”

Duncan, who admits to being unsure of tackling his first Munro in the January winter, suggests the storm damage to the trees hasn’t put him off.

“It’s not the first industry you think of being affected.

“It’s not something I’d particularly considered beforehand, but we’ll have to wait and see what the walk is like.”

Brothers Callum and Duncan Johnston.
Brothers Duncan and Callum Johnston.

Carnoustie man Graham Shepherd, 61, is another keen walker who is not going to let the storm damage put him off.

He has travelled up to walk his spaniel Douglas.

“We’re just going to head out to Corrie Fee and see where we get to,” he says, heading for the trail ahead.

Shocking Tentsmuir images reveal scale of Storm Arwen damage – track woodland clean up work across Fife and Tayside here

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