Angus and Dundee
Angus is the historical heartland of Scotland, a county where the past has left an indelible mark on the present. Prehistoric forts, ancient castles and Pictish standing stones dot a rich and varied landscape where bracing coastal hikes, tranquil riverside rambles, sheltered woodland wanders and more challenging hill ascents await the walker.
This book features 40 walks, combining exploration of the county’s stunning coastline where rocky cliffs and coves reveal swathes of golden sand, with gentle inland trails and more adventurous forays into the celebrated Angus Glens where the terrain is altogether wilder and more dramatic.
96 pages / 105mm x 148mm / step inside the guide
Angus and Dundee
For walkers, Angus and Dundee has it all – bracing coastal strolls, sheltered woodland walks, easy riverside rambles, airy moorland treks and stiff mountain ascents. The landscape and terrain is so varied, every day out can be different. This guide contains 40 routes, the majority offering easy to moderate walks, with a few more challenging hikes to the summits of higher peaks. Together, they present a flavour of the immensely varied countryside, scenery and topography found here. The county has a proud maritime heritage and there are 43km of coastline to explore. While an Angus coastal path remains in development, there are plenty of well-trodden seaside paths and clifftop trails linking spectacular beaches, striking geological features and secluded coves.
Inland, agriculture dominates the fertile plains of Strathmore, but amid the fields and furrows there are forests, rivers and lochs where low-level walks abound. Head for the hills and you are spoilt for choice. The Angus Glens comprise of Glen Isla, Glen Clova, Glen Prosen, Glen Lethnot and Glen Esk, and the county includes part of the Cairngorms National Park. Each glen has its own distinct character. Isla is green, Clova craggy, Prosen peaceful, Lethnot wild and Esk remote. There are Munros – Scottish hills over 3000 feet high – to climb and long, winding valleys to explore. The walks in this guide are divided into five sections. Four cover inland areas and include the Angus Glens while the fifth explores the coastline. Each section begins with a summary of the area, offering a taste of what you can expect when you don your boots, plus a map to locate the start point of each of the routes.
Safety and what to take
The geographical make-up of Angus means that different weather conditions often prevail in different parts of the county, so be prepared for every eventuality, particularly on longer walks. Sturdy walking shoes or boots are recommended for all routes. The majority follow good paths and tracks, but in some cases the terrain can be wet or muddy underfoot. Take wind- and waterproof clothing and ensure you have enough warm layers to enjoy the walk whatever the conditions. Most of the walks in this book are suitable for families with children and, in some cases, can be completed by kids on bikes. Low-level routes that follow predominantly tracks and minor roads are usually suitable for all-terrain buggies. The sketch map accompanying each route is intended to help plan the outing rather than as a navigational aid. The relevant Ordnance Survey Explorer or Landranger map should always be taken. On longer routes that cross open ground, a compass and the knowledge to use it is essential. Some of the walks include sections along high and unfenced cliffs where special care should be taken, especially if you have children or a dog with you.
Although the main towns and larger villages in Angus are well served by public transport, the remoter glens are less easy to reach without a car. While every effort has been made to include walks that can be reached by bus or train, this guide would be incomplete without routes in the glens. In some cases, the only form of public transport is the schoolbus, on term time weekdays, or demand responsive services that run on request and must be booked in advance. Timetables can be found at tourist information centres, from Traveline Scotland or on Angus Council’s website or, for Dundee buses, at dundeetravelinfo.com.
The Angus countryside is a great resource for outdoor activities like walking. But that is only half the story. It also provides a living for a great many people, including farmers and foresters. To avoid conflict between walkers and those who work the land, it is important to enjoy the great outdoors responsibly. Walkers in Scotland have long enjoyed the right to roam on just about any land with no requirements to stay on defined paths or rights of way. This position was ratified with the implementation of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 which gives everyone the right to be on most land, provided they act responsibly. Always follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code. Some of the walks in this guide cross land where farm animals graze or deer, mountain hare and groundnesting birds live. If you take a dog, it is important to keep it on the lead in such areas. Occasionally you may encounter temporary access restrictions. This could, for example, be a forest track closed due to tree harvesting or a path shut because of erosion. Usually a diversion will be offered and if this is the case you should follow it. If there is no diversion, you may have to consult your map and work out an alternative route.
With its landscape of mountains, moors, lochs, woodland and coast, Angus offers a diverse natural habitat for a wide variety of animals, birds, insects and plants. Improvements to water quality over recent years has seen an increase in bottlenose dolphins in both the Firth of Tay and North Sea while the shoreline and cliffs are home to seabirds like puffins, fulmars, shags and guillemots. The county’s many small lochs attract ducks, geese, swans and grebes and you may also spot osprey fishing. Other birds of prey such as buzzards, kestrels and sparrowhawks hunt over farmland and forestry while golden eagles and peregrine falcons dwell in the mountains. Red squirrels, and roe and fallow deer, continue to thrive in the woodlands of Backmuir and Templeton. Montreathmont Forest, near Brechin, is a key destination for birdwatchers. The upland terrain of the Angus Glens, a mix of mountain, heather moor and forestry, is home to red and roe deer, otters, stoats, grouse and ptarmigan, while the higher slopes are carpeted in hardy mountain plants and alpine flowers. The rivers of Angus attract birds like the kingfisher and at spots like the Rocks of Solitude on the River North Esk you can see salmon leaping as they head upstream to spawn in the autumn.
Angus lays claim to being the birthplace of Scotland, thanks to strong links with the Picts and its pivotal role in efforts to secure independence from the English in the early 14th century. During the Dark Ages, the Picts – a tribe of painted warriors – dominated Scotland. A Celtic people, they inhabited the lands north of the Firths of Forth and Clyde and divided the area into provinces. Angus formed part of the Circhenn heartland. The Picts successfully held off the invading Roman Army during the campaign of Emperor Severus in 210AD, but there were regular skirmishes with the Northumbrians, their neighbours in the south. During the 7th century, Lothian fell to Egfrith, King of Northumbria, but as Egfrith marched north through Strathmore, the Pictish king, Bridei, lured him towards Dunnichen Hill, near Forfar, trapping and killing most of them in a narrow cleft. It was a key victory for had they lost, historians believe Scotland may never have existed. As Gaelic culture spread across Scotland, the Picts died out. In 848AD, following the death of the last Pictish king, Drostan Mac Uuroid, the land of the Picts was united with the Kingdom of the Scots, creating the foundations of modern-day Scotland. They left behind an enduring legacy in the form of standing stones carved with pictures and mysterious symbols. These are to be found all over Angus – some of the best examples are at Aberlemno, Cossans, Eassie and Glamis. Conflict with the English continued to occupy the Scots, most notably during the Wars of Independence in the 13th and 14th centuries. Following the sudden death of King Alexander III in 1286, the country was thrown into turmoil. John Balliol and Robert Bruce, grandfather of Robert the Bruce, both laid claim to the throne. The Guardians of Scotland turned to King Edward I of England to adjudicate, but he decided instead to invade. Numerous battles including at Bannockburn, where Robert the Bruce was victorious in 1314, followed. Although Bruce was now king of Scotland in the eyes of most Scots, his rule and Scotland’s independence lacked recognition from England and the Pope. In a bid to rectify this, Bruce and Scotland’s leading barons met at Arbroath Abbey in April 1320 to sign the famous Declaration of Arbroath, also known as the Declaration of Scottish Independence. Despite this impassioned plea, it was not until 1328, when Bruce successfully invaded northern England, that his kingship and the nation’s independence were at last recognised.
Location 1, Location 2, Location 3