The Glens of Angus are to the east of Perthshire, south of the Grampians and north of Dundee, a series of five glens (valleys) running parallel to each other and all of them beautiful, peaceful and offering plenty of relatively painless hillwalking opportunities.
Running parallel to Glen Shee, lovely Glen Isla is the furthest west of the Angus Glens and can also be reached from the little town of Alyth, east of Blairgowrie. At the southern end of the glen, five miles north of Alyth by Bridge of Glenisla, is Reekie Linn, a series of waterfalls that plunge through a deep, wooded gorge. A path leads for 200 yds from the car park and picnic site on the road between Bridge of Glenisla and Bridge of Lintrathen. Nearby is the excellent Lochside Lodge restaurant and Peel Farm Coffee and Craft Shop.
Looking towards Glen Prosen - credit
Five miles north of Kirriemuir is the tiny village of Dykehead, at the foot of Glen Clova, where a side road branches northwest and runs into Glen Prosen. Both glens penetrate deep into the Grampian Mountains and are blessed with a rugged beauty, but Glen Prosen carries little of the cachet of its neighbour and is consequently a much more peaceful option for hillwalkers. The little road runs deep, into the glen but it's best explored on foot.
A good walk is the relatively straightforward four-mile Minister's Path, which connects the two glens. It starts from behind the kirk in Glenprosen village and heads over the hilly moorland and down to the B955 just before Clova village. You can catch the postbus back to Kirriemuir from the Clova Hotel. The Kirriemuir to Glen Prosen postbus runs once daily except Sun.
Glen Cova & Glen Doll
Glen Clova is only 30 miles north of Dundee yet you could be in the heart of the Highlands, with craggy mountains towering overhead and heather-clad slopes populated by deer and grouse. Glen Clova leads north into Glen Doll, from where you can follow the old drove roads which lead to Ballater and Braemar in Deeside. These ancient routes were used by whisky smugglers, government troops and rebels, as well as cattle drovers, and though they may look straightforward on the map, they can be as treacherous as any of the Scottish mountains. Only fit and experienced walkers should attempt these walks.
One of the best walks is the famous Jock's Road to Braemar. The 14-mile route starts from the Glen Doll youth hostel and it's a tough seven-hour hike up to the summit at Crow Craigies (3,108 ft) and down to the head of Loch Callater. The descent is very steep and may require crampons in winter. From the loch, the path follows the Callater Burn till it reaches the main A93, two miles from Braemar. Another excellent walk is the Loops of Brandy, which starts from behind the Clova Hotel, T550222, and climbs up into the mountains, around Loch Brandy and back again. It's a four-hour walk there and back.
Drivers should note that the B955 from Dykehead divides just before the bridge of the River South Esk. The west branch is traditionally used by vehicles heading up the glen, while the east branch should be for traffic returning down the glen. The two roads meet up again six miles further on, at the tiny hamlet of Clova, which consists of little more than the Clova Hotel, which is a very friendly and popular climbers' retreat. As well as bar meals, the hotel lays on regular barbecues, ceilidhs and a multitude of various activities. There's also an eight-bed bunkhouse outside which is open all year. It has a kitchen, but no shower.
Four miles further north, near the end of the road, in Glen Doll, is a campsite by the bridge. It's open during the summer and has only basic facilities. A few hundered yards north is Glendoll Youth Hostel, T550236, open 10 March-31 October. It has 45 beds and boasts a squash court as well as the standard facilities. Note that access is limited between 1030 and 1700.
There's a postbus service to Glen Clova from Kirriemuir twice a day Monday-Friday and once on Saturday. The 0830 departure runs as far as the hostel and the 1500 departure (Monday-Friday only) stops at the Clova Hotel. The afternoon service leaves from the hotel at 1530.
North from Edzell, the road runs 13 miles to the head of beautiful Glen Esk, the most easterly of the Angus Glens and, like the others, quiet and empty. Nine miles north of Edzell along the Glen road is the Glenesk Folk Museum, housed in an old shooting lodge known as 'The Retreat'. The museum's extensive local folk history collection gives a fascinating insight into the lives of the Glen's inhabitants. It also has a good tearoom (try their rhubarb jam and home baking).
Easter-May Sat-Mon 1200-1800; Jun to mid-Oct 1200-1800. Adult £2. T670254
Four miles further on, beyond Tarfside village, the public road ends at Invermark Castle. This is the start of one of the Mounth Roads, ancient rights of way leading from the Angus Glens across the mountains to Deeside. This route leads eventually to Ballater or Glen Tanar, near Aboyne. For a description of the latter route in reverse, see under Deeside. You can also hike from here to the summit of Mount Keen (3,081ft), Scotland's most easterly Munro, but - like the Mounth Road - this is a tough walk and you'll need full hill-walking equipment and a map. An easier walk is to the Queen's Well, three miles from the car park across the river from Invermark Castle. It's about three hours there and back. Altenatively, you can head west from the castle, past the lovely old church and along the north shore of Loch Lee.