Marykirk Hotel, Stables Bar and Esk Restaurant
An excellent village pub with en-suite accommodation just five minutes from the stunning River North Esk. An ideal salmon and sea trout angler’s retreat.
Key facts about The Marykirk Hotel
Located in the small village of Marykirk about a mile and a half off the A90 between Aberdeen and Dundee, the Marykirk Hotel is a charming Scottish country pub/hotel popular with anglers looking to fish the nearby River North Esk and its tributaries which are famous for their salmon and trout fishing. The hotel is also near some of the best shooting estates in this part of Scotland.
Just five minutes walk from the river, the Marykirk Hotel offers two flexible double rooms, a large twin/double room and a family room. All have en-suite facilities. The double rooms have twin beds which can be pushed together if desired. They are also available for single occupancy. The large twin/double room also has two twin beds and can be available as a double-bedded room, a standard twin-bedded room or for single occupancy. The family room comes with two double beds plus an optional single bed. A child’s bed can also be provided. This room can be available as a twin, a double or a family room for one or two children up to 12 years of age.
All guest rooms include:
- En suite facilities with shower
- Adjustable central heating
- Flat screen colour TV
- Free Wi-Fi
- Tea and coffee making facilities
- Access to iron and ironing board
- Access to drying facilities for anglers and shooters/stalkers with wet clothing
The Marykirk Hotel is a “non-smoking” hotel but has outside smoking areas.
The Esk Restaurant
Esk Restaurant is a welcoming venue with beamed ceilings, polished wood flooring and disabled access. The restaurant easily seats 45 diners and features a lounge area with comfortable seating in front of an open log fire.
The hotel prides itself in providing quality, freshly cooked food at economical prices. Its talented chef has many years experience and is assisted by a Sous Chef and kitchen staff. Their expertise and attention to detail extend not only to the Esk Restaurant but also to meals provided in the Stables Bar.
All food is prepared freshly and all meat, fish, poultry, eggs and vegetables are sourced from local suppliers. Whether you want a traditional meal in the cosy bar or something a little more special in the Esk Restaurant, the hotel will provide delicious food and efficient, courteous service in welcoming and comfortable surroundings.
The Marykirk also has a separate smaller dining room which is used as the breakfast room for residents and later in the day for diners who want something quieter than the bar to eat their meal, yet don’t want to go to the restaurant. This room is ideal for families with children who require a high chair. The small dining room can also be available on request for morning coffee or afternoon teas.
The hotel is also happy to supply packed lunches for guests.
The Stables Bar and beer garden
The Stables Bar and beer garden is located at the front of the hotel and has disabled access. It is popular both with the local community, guests and visiting anglers and shooters staying at the hotel during the sporting season. The bar has a traditional, warm, friendly atmosphere with a large log fire, pool table and darts area.
There are a wide range of beers and spirits and a great selection of quality malt whiskies. Excellent bar meals are served every lunchtime and evening. The bar is the village community focal point – local individuals and families come to eat and drink regularly at the bar. There are also various community events held throughout the year such as Halloween party, Hogmanay party, quiz nights, folk music nights, charity events, fancy dress nights and an annual visit by the Morris Dancers.
There are various places of interest to visit, most within half an hour’s drive from the hotel. Within 25 miles there is the choice of Glamis Castle the childhood home of the late Queen Mother; Crathes Castle; an enchanting 16th-century tower house reminiscent of the great French châteaux which is surrounded by 240 hectares of formal gardens and woodland walks; Dunnottar Castle one of the most striking and romantic ruined castles in Scotland. A ruined cliff top fortress in a stunning setting on a rocky headland near Stonehaven; and a little further afield is Balmoral.
Closer to home, the Fettercairn Distillery just three miles from Marykirk provides guided tours from May to September whilst just outside Montrose, the Montrose Basin Wildlife Centre is a local nature reserve and home to over 50,000 migratory birds – including pink-footed geese, Arctic terns, knots and sedge warblers. Open all year it has a visitor’s centre.
The River North Esk
The North Esk is formed in the southern Grampians where the Water of Mark and the Water of Lee meet in Angus. It flows through Glen Esk and the southern end of the Howe o the Mearns to enter the North Sea four miles north of Montrose.
Most productive salmon river in Scotland
Although the salmon populations of the North Esk do not have any international designations, the Scottish Government has identified the North Esk as the most productive salmon river in Scotland, yard for yard.
Once the weather warms in the spring, salmon can be taken at the Loups of the Burn, a series of falls about fifteen miles below Loch Lee, and into the upper beats by late spring or early summer.
Holding pools give excellent fishing on the lower beats
The lower river flows through a series of long holding pools, giving excellent fishing on the lower beats.
The North Esk is very much a spate river, requiring rain to give good sport especially in the summer months although the later months of September and October are usually the most prolific as long as there is sufficient water to let the fish run the river. This is the time when bigger fish start to run the system, with fish between 20lbs and 30lbs not uncommon.
May to August is good for sea trout
Sea trout also run the river from late May to August and may also be caught following a summer spate, perhaps on a small silver stoat tube fly fished on a single handed rod of about ten feet.
Grilse begin to run in May and move through the system quickly. The peak run is in July which, given reasonable angling conditions, can result in catches throughout the river. Although not famed for its sea trout, this species can provide interesting night fishing during the early summer.
West Water is famed for sea trout and grilse
The autumn fish spread throughout the system given favourable weather conditions. One of the most beautiful tributaries is the West Water and this provides a variety of fishing from the late spring onwards. It is famed for sea trout and grilse.
Because the North Esk is a basically a spate river and the height of the water determines whether the fish will be running, the weather plays an important part in how good the fishing will be. To check the local weather information follow this link to visit the BBC Weather website for Montrose.
Local fishing tackle shops and sources of information
Local tackle shops who can supply flies, equipment and clothing for your visit and arrange permits include Montrose Guns and Tackle in Montrose, about five miles from Marykirk and Angus Angling in Forfar.
One of the most useful sources of information about fishing in the area can be viewed on the Esk Rivers.org website which covers most of the available beats on the River North Esk and the River South Esk. The site also has an on-line booking facility for many of the beats covered. Other useful sites include the Esk District Salmon Fishery Board & Esk Rivers Fisheries Trust website whilst day tickets can also be booked at Pert Fishings Ltd which contains a host of information on fishing in Scotland.