Last weekend, we headed to the Angus Glens for a break at the dug friendly Glen Clova Hotel. It’s set in a beautiful, tranquil location in Glen Clova and is an excellent escape from city life. Our aim was to explore more of the region, do a bit of hiking and enjoy some good food and wine. We managed all three.
Here are our Angus Glens highlights:
Conveniently, this walk began at our hotel. The hike climbs to an elevation of 410 meters to reach Loch Brandy, which sits on the floor of a mountain corrie.
I had some reservations about the hike as we had The Teen in tow. Memories of our disastrous 2015 Conic Hill Expedition were still fresh in my mind. It became rapidly apparent on that day-trip to Loch Lomond, that despite being built like a jockey’s whip The Teen wasn’t going to reach the summit of Conic Hill. A modest 361 meter pimple with spectacular views of Loch Lomond. We had to leave her resting on a big rock half way up, worn out and jelly legged from her efforts. We headed to the summit with The Wee White Dug to admire the views along with a steady stream of pensioners, toddlers and out of shape adults.
My concerns turned out to be unfounded, as despite her obvious loathing of every step she took uphill, she made it to Loch Brandy and seemed rightly proud to have done so. I’m glad we’d weathered a teenage tantrum earlier that morning and managed to persuade her to change out of her original choice of hiking attire – a floaty, short playsuit, thick black tights and a leather biker jacket!
The day was turning out to be a scorcher which made the hike uphill hard going and thirsty work. Loch Brandy was beautiful though, so it was well worth the effort. The Wee Dug cautiously dipped his toes into the water to cool off but refused to wade any deeper. He said he was showing caution to make sure the kelpies and loch monsters didn’t get him. I tried to explain that they were mythical creatures but he wouldn’t listen.
Later, back at our hotel we rewarded ourselves with an al fresco lunch and a well-earned cold drink or two. The boy enjoyed a nice bowl of water followed by a snooze under the table. The Teen exhausted by her efforts, and jelly legs shaking more than a gyrating Elvis impersonator, guzzled down a gallon of iced Coca Cola.
Hike 2: Glen Doll Ranger Station – Corrie Fee
Mountain corries were the theme of the weekend, as the next morning we decided to hike to Corrie Fee. We’d done this walk before, but en-route to bag the Munros Mayar and Dreish, and not to enjoy the beauty of the corrie in its own right.
The walk from the ranger station to Corrie Fee is tedious and takes around an hour. It winds up through featureless woodland which seems like it’ll never end. The final destination is out of this world though, so the boring trudge there is soon forgotten.
Corrie Fee is a stunning natural amphitheatre with a waterfall, a winding stream, purple heather and wild Alpine flowers. It’s one of Scotland’s National Nature Reserves, and for me is the stand out gem of the Angus Glens. It’s beautifully rugged, and if you’re lucky you may get it all to yourself.
This day had also turned out to be a scorcher. We sat enjoying the sunshine and a cool drink, and soaked up the phenomenal view.
Before heading back we climbed down to the stream on the corrie floor. There was a small pool of crystal clear water there. The Wee White Dug deemed it to be the perfect spot for his first ever swim. We brimmed with pride at his efforts in between snorts of laughter. It may have been a short and cautious swim with him still attached to his lead but he did it – he swam. Hooray for overcoming fears and braving new experiences.
Exploring Kirriemuir: ACDC & Peter Pan
We couldn’t visit Angus without visiting Kirriemuir to pay homage to its famous sons, JM Barrie and Bon Scott of ACDC fame.
JM Barrie was born in the town and spent his early years there. His birthplace is now a museum in the care of the National Trust for Scotland. Peter Pan is one of my all time favourite books. His statue takes pride of place in the centre of town.
Bon Scott, one time lead singer of the rock band ACDC also spent his early years in Kirriemuir before emigrating to Australia as a child. Scott died in 1980. Last month after years of campaigning a statue of him was unveiled in the town. He would have turned 70 this year.
And the music was good and the music was loud, and the singer turned to the crowd and said ‘Let there be rock’.
The last stop on our wonderful weekend in Angus was Glamis Castle, childhood home of the Queen Mother and ancestral seat of the Clan Lyon since the 14th century.
The Wee White Dug loved Glamis Castle. Probably because he was offered a doggy treat on the way in. The way to the boy’s heart is definitely through his stomach.
The castle and grounds are vast and beautiful. The place has a real happy and relaxed vibe to it. We wandered around the immaculate lawns, the woodland nature trail and Italian Garden.
After exploring the grounds we enjoyed a lunch of Arran ice cream, raspberry lemonade and sandwiches from the castle cafe. A perfect end to a perfect trip.
The region of Angus is beautiful, but often overlooked. Tourists from home and abroad tend to head to more well-known Scottish destinations like Glencoe or Skye. It’s such a shame as you’ll find scenery to easily rival those places in the Angus Glens. Don’t miss it if you’re planning a trip to Scotland.
Until next time ……..