Post-Lockdown Adventures – Angus Coast

If you are looking for some inspiration for longer post-lockdown adventures in the Scottish countryside, why not consider the Angus coast…

I am planning an expedition along the Angus coast next month and, while confined to home in Dundee, enjoyed some short shoreline walks, including hikes around Riverside Nature Park, a lovely area of open space founded atop the city’s old landfill site, wanders around the docks of Dundee, where new housing developments are flourishing east of Discovery and the V&A, and along the shared-use path bordering Forth Ports. For many years, due to port security, this route was accessible only to cyclists who signed up for a pass. Now, however, it is free for anyone to use and, while hemmed in between fences bordering the railway on one side and port warehouses on the other, it is a useful link between Dundee and Broughty Ferry.

Available in paperback and ebook format from Amazon, Angus Coastal Trail sets out from Broughty Ferry, describing a 68km route north along the coastline to the estuary of the River North Esk, near Montrose. There is information too for those who plump to start from Dundee where the Tay Road Bridge offers a link to the Fife Coastal Path.

West Highland Way Round

The West Highland Way Round began life in 2012 as a personal alternative to the West Highland Way, a 99km loop starting and finishing in Fort William following less well walked trails through Lochaber and over Rannoch Moor. Setting out south along the West Highland Way – swimming against the tide of long distance walkers – it called at Kinlochleven and King’s House before branching east along an old drove road to Rannoch Station where the way turns north, following the Road to the Isles to remote Corrour Station before swinging west for the return via Loch Treig and Glen Nevis. In this the 40th anniversary of the West Highland Way, the guide – up until now only available as an ebook – has been fully revised and released as a paperback, now available from Amazon.

Books for Christmas

Secret Scotland

Secret Scotland – My guide to 50 of the country’s most unusual and offbeat attractions – quirky curiosities and hidden gems and secluded and less well-known spots that await discovery. 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 in paperback or ebook format from Amazon

Bing Bagging

Bing Bagging – Central Scotland – How about a new outdoor hobby for 2021? Venture off the beaten path and climb those manmade mountains known as bings. You have shale or coal to choose from in central Scotland and this full colour guide will lead you to the best of them. Available in paperback and ebook format from Amazon

Elie Chain Walk

Elie Chain Walk – A Step-by-Step Guide – Always promised yourself that one day you would have a crack at the Elie Chain Walk, Fife’s unique coastal scramble? This full colour guide give you all the info you need, along with maps and lots of photographs. Available in paperback and ebook format from Amazon

Take a Hike: Berneray

The islanders of Berneray lay claim to possessing ‘possibly the most beautiful beach in the whole of the Hebrides’. It is an ambitious assertion, their cherished West Beach up against stiff competition. The Western Isles is, after all, fringed with stunning strips of white sand.

With high expectations and eager to see if this coastal treasure was all it was cracked up to be, or if the proud proclamation was simply a tourist lure, I boarded the MV Loch Portain at Leverburgh and set sail across the Sound of Harris. Read more…

Take a Hike: Niddry Bing

A mighty legacy of West Lothian’s shale oil industry, Niddry Bing, on the outskirts of Winchburgh, remains in use but it is still possible to climb to the top and gaze across the vast summit plateau.

Originally 61-metres high when it was abandoned by the oil industry in 1961, quarried for aggregates, the spoil heap has been slowly lowered over the years, although it remains a substantial landmark.

Sitting at the foot of its steep southern escarpment and on the edge of a golf course where the crude oil works once stood, restored Niddry Castle adds historical interest to a circuit that begins by the Union Canal. Read more…

This walk is an extract from my new book Bing Bagging – Central Scotland, a collection of 18 routes to the top of 23 shale and coal bings in West Lothian, Lanarkshire, Dunbartonshire, Stirling and Fife, available as a paperback or ebook from Amazon

Take a Hike: Den of Fowlis

October nearly at an end, in search of some autumnal colour, I found myself draw to Den of Fowlis, a beautiful, slender wooded ravine blessed with the liveliest of wee streams.

Tucked away in the Angus countryside, just a few miles west of Dundee, it is a real hidden gem, one of those out of the way spots that despite its obvious charms does not attract too many visitors. Read more…

Take a Hike: 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…