Bigfoot in the Sidlaws

A cold and misty hike in the Sidlaws gave us the opportunity to test out some tech. But were there other creatures around?

By Ian
13th March 2022

Today saw the debut of Neil, AKA Elt, onto Scottish training grounds for our forthcoming challenge. It was also an opportunity to test out various apps and tech which we might use on the Hike.

It was windy and raining as Steve drove into Balkello car park to join Doug, Neil and I. He parked and jumped into my car before we headed to start the walk in Newtyle.


I parked outside my favourite shop; one which saved my life a couple of times before by providing me with a plain chocolate magnum when fatigue and heat were getting to me. Today I had no such need but more disappointingly, it was shut!

It was just before 10am when we set off towards Balkello.

The wind was very strong and it started to rain as we turned right into The Den of Newtyle. Everyone donned a waterproof layer, mainly to keep the wind out and partly to keep dry.

The track at this point is a gentle climb up beside the Edderty Burn though woodland. The recent rain made the path fairly muddy but everyone had good footwear which seemed to prevent slips and falls.

By the Edderty Burn


Near the summit

Soon we were onto the open hillside. Visibility was less than 100 yards and the wind buffeted us as we continued to climb the by now steep ascent.

A couple of stops on the way up to catch our breath and then we reached the summit of Kinpurnie. Instead of the views over the Vale of Strathmore we were ensnared by a misty shroud. Standing in the shelter of the Observatory (stone tower) we had a drink and enjoyed some freshly baked chocolate brownie, courtesy of our Chef de Mission Diane, Doug’s partner.

Stopping for long in these conditions is not recommended as the cold creeps in very quickly. So no time was wasted before we continued south east, down the other side to lower ground and the shelter of trees.

After the rigours of the climb it was straight forward walking. There was a double stile which provided a challenge to each of us but was safely negotiated and a particularly slippery 5 bar gate which was similarly crossed without incident.

As we continued south the sound of gunfire interrupted the roar of the wind.

We are not alone

Part of my original plan had been to ascend Auchterhouse Hill but with visibility still poor and the wind still strong and cold I changed the plan. We headed directly towards the car park.

The last section of the walk took us over boggy moorland and as we progressed Doug was brought to a halt by a “Bigfoot” print. So they do exist? Very mysterious. But apart from the giant footprint there was no other sign of life.

Could the gunshots be connected? We theorised what this all might mean, but in the end decided that we had no idea. And more importantly, we were getting cold and hungry.

By one o’clock we were at the car park and we stopped at a picnic table to enjoy a drink a sandwich and some more cake; this time a lemon flavoured delight. I think we would put on weight if Doug came on more hikes.

Again the windchill quickly took effect so it was not a prolonged lunch break. We ate, checked our phones to see the walk statistics, and we were soon In Steve’s car heading home.

Tech Test

Our route

The interesting thing about using a variety of devices to monitor exercise is the range of results recorded. I think the shortest was mine at 6.08 miles and the longest was over 7 miles. Are we quantum hiking?

That’s two mysteries in one day.