Walk: Dronley Wood

Up until 65-years-ago, anyone venturing out of Dundee to breath in the fresh Angus air and enjoy a pleasant wander around Dronley Wood, in the shadow of the Sidlaw Hills, could have done so by train. The hamlet of Dronley, a stone’s throw from the plantation, was a stop on the Dundee to Newtyle Railway. After almost a century of service, the station closed in 1955 but visitors can still call here, the former goods yard now a car park and my starting point for a short loop around the forest. Read more…

Three Glens, Two Days – A Stravaig through Angus

The five main glens of Angus – Isla, Prosen, Clova, Lethnot and Esk – branch out out like the thumb and fingers of a giant’s hand, its palm firmly planted in the sweeping Vale of Strathmore. Many walkers find themselves funnelled into individual valleys, drawn by the unique personality each possesses. Isla is green, Clova craggy, Prosen peaceful, Lethnot wild and Esk remote.

Explore one glen and thoughts quickly turn to seeking out others. If only there was a way to combine the contrasting characters of each in a single outing… Well, thanks to a network of hill and valley tracks, there is and it promises a fascinating journey of discovery through an area of the Eastern Highlands where rare wildlife and plants lurk amid dramatic upland scenery, where vivid vistas await marvelling eyes and where history is woven into the countryside’s colourful quilt. Read more…

Bothy Nichts – Allt Scheicheachan

Located deep in the Forest of Atholl, Beinn Dearg is one of those far flung mountains that demands a long walk in before any real climbing begins. From Blair Atholl, to the south, the summit is a good 10 miles off. A bike speeds up this lengthy approach, but, for me, an expedition to the summit of this Munro was the perfect excuse to spend a night in one of my favourite bothies. Read more…

Cairngorms bothy book

Bothies cover - 2 cairngormsAfter a longer than planned gestation period, the second of my guides to Scotland’s bothies – Bothies, Huts & Howffs in the Hills – Cairngorms National Park is now available.

Taking the same format as the first book in the series – Bothies, Huts & Howffs in the Hills – Perthshire & Angus – it is a comprehensive listing of open bothies, unlocked huts and howffs within the Cairngorms National Park. It includes popular shelters like Corrour and Ryvoan alongside less well known refuges like Coyles Cottage and the Garrocher Hut with its fine wooden privy! Chapters cover Lost Bothies, Royal Bothies and the famous Secret Howff.

The book is available as an ebook and paperback from Amazon.

If you are planning a trip into the mountains and glens of Angus or Perthshire, Bothies, Huts & Howffs in the Hills – Perthshire & Angus offers ideas on places to stay in the great outdoors.

 

Secret Scotland

Cover1Welcome to Scotland… Not to the Scotland of glossy tourist brochures, airbrushed landscape photographs, coach parties, visitor centres and woollen mill cafes, but to a nation of secret, treasured places, free of crowds and tartan trappings.

Here, we veer off the well-trod tourist trail and wander down backroads and byways to reveal the country’s unusual and offbeat attractions, quirky curiosities and hidden gems, secluded and less well-known spots that await discovery.

Of the 50 attractions listed in the book, most can be visited at any time of the year, day or night, with no booking required or admission charged.

So, whether you want to wish upon an ancient stone, spend the night in a Royal lodge or hermit’s bothy, drive an alpine road, climb a manmade hill, spot gnomes all at sea, descend into a pagan canyon or see where oil rigs go to die, pack a bag and enjoy the journey…

Available now in paperback from Amazon

Secret Scotland for a taste of Secret Scotland

Kerrowmore Wood trails closed

3 - The first of the forest lochans encountered - James Carron, Take a HikeThe network of trails through Kerrowmore Wood, near Bridge of Balgie, Glen Lyon, is currently closed to allow the Meggernie Estate to fell existing forestry and replant it as a native pinewoods.

The paths will be upgraded as part of the project, which is due for completion sometime in 2019/20.

Other routes on the estate, including walks in Meggernie Birchwood, remain open.

 

Bothies, Huts & Howffs in the Hills

bothies-cover-12NEW BOOK – Bothies are basic shelters in remote corners of the countryside, a home from home in the hills for walkers, backpackers, mountain bikers and others who love spending time in the great outdoors.

Scotland has a long tradition of bothying and, while the better known ones are easily found, one of the great pleasures of exploring the nation’s mountains and glens is stumbling upon one for the first time – and finding the door open.

This guide takes some of the guesswork out of the equation, listing unlocked habitable shelters, ranging from comfortable, well-equipped bothies suitable for overnight stays to simple wooden huts and howffs offering protection from the elements, a place to break for lunch or a bolthole in an emergency.

Covering Perthshire and Angus, the fully illustrated guide details the location of each bothy, hut or howff by grid reference, offers advice on how to reach it and outlines what to expect upon arrival. Available as a paperback and ebook from amazon.co.uk

Angus Coastal Trail

cover03 copyAfter devoting the summer of 2012 to the Angus Glens, I spent much of this year exploring the county’s shoreline, hiking the coastal path between Broughty Ferry and Montrose and discovering some real gems along the way. The fruits of these labours have now come to fruition in the publication of Angus Coastal Trail.

The linear route is 68km in length, although there are plenty of detours and distractions as the trail progresses north.

From the Firth of Tay, the mouth of Scotland’s longest river, sandy beaches, backed by a gently rolling grassy hinterland, give way to more rugged and dramatic scenery.

Beyond Arbroath, spectacular cliffs, interspersed with craggy coves, secret caves and unique geological features, rise from the insistent ebb and flow of the tide. Beyond the cliff top village of Auchmithie, the coastline reaches its highest point at Red Head, a towering sandstone promontory.

Carlingheugh Bay, near Arbroath

Carlingheugh Bay, near Arbroath

The terrain softens again, the forgotten hamlets of Ethie Haven and Corbie Knowe lying at the southern end of Lunan Bay, a sweep of golden sand. However, a more exposed and inhospitable stretch of shoreline leads round the coast to Scurdie Ness lighthouse, standing guard over the entrance to the county’s busiest port, Montrose.

The trail can either be walked in its entirety or the various sections can be undertaken as day walks.

Fully illustrated, Angus Coastal Trail includes clear mapping and a wealth of background history, geography and wildlife information, plus practical advice on accommodation, public transport and places to eat.

The book is currently available from Amazon for Kindle and Kindle apps. Click here. However a paperback is on its way soon…