Instagrammer, @_AndrewAlexander, spent 48 hours in the Angus Glens and has kindly written this blog about his experience. Read on to see why the Angus Glens has earned a slice of his heart.
Trees sway in the wind and the silhouettes of mountains loom large overhead. It’s dark and cold, yet a warm feeling flows through my body – it feels like I’m meant to be here.
I am standing in the Glen Doll carpark at the head of Glen Clova. An area of The Cairngorms National Park which is regarded as one of the quietest. This is the beginning of what I hope will be an epic 48 hours in a corner of Scotland which is completely new to me.
Day 1 – Corrie Fee
The dark morning sky makes way for brighter hues as I follow a meandering track which leads me gently uphill through the forest to an outstanding viewpoint at the foot of the Corrie – this is dramatic. A massive bowl scooped out from the rugged mountainsides by a glacier during the Ice Age, Corrie Fee is a natural amphitheatre of rocky landscape like nothing I’ve ever seen before. I push on towards the rear of the Corrie and as I ascend the steep path beside the waterfall, the mountains and crags begin to feel as they’re closing in around me – I suddenly feel very small.
The higher I climb, the better the view looking back down into the Corrie and as I almost reach the top of the waterfall, I find myself a rocky slab to sit and take it all in.
After a while, I continue onto the Cairngorm Plateau – the UK’s largest area of high mountains, and from here, the views stretch on for miles. If you’re a confident walker and have the right outdoor gear, you can continue onto the summits of Mayar and Driesh, a pair of popular Munro’s, but I was desperate to spend time soaking in the Autumn colours in the forest and opted to retrace my steps back through the Corrie.
My Accommodation – Glen Clova Hotel & Lodges
Glen Clova Hotel is a small country hotel dating from the 1850’s. Situated at the foot of Glen Doll and perfectly located for an adventure in the Angus Glens, this is my base for the next two nights.
I am excited about staying here as I’ve heard about their positive approach to sustainability, which sees the hotel use its surrounding natural resources to heat and power all of their buildings – including the steadings, and lodges. The going green movement is something which is really close to my heart, as I believe it’s the direction we all need to try and take for the benefit of the planet.
I am met with a warm welcome and a member of staff directs me to my room at the front of the hotel. Tired from my days adventure at Corrie Fee, I spend a while looking out the window and taking in the views across the Glen.
I love the stag print cushions and throw which adorn the bed. They serve as a nice reminder to the beautiful Highland location in which the hotel is set.
Day 2 – Loch Brandy
Heading into the cold under cover of dark, I wonder if I should have stayed in bed a little longer. I flick my head torch on and watch my breath rise skyward, before making my way to the rear of the carpark. This is where todays adventure begins.
I cross a footbridge, pass through a gate and it’s not long before I’m climbing up the open hillside. The going is steep, but the path is well constructed which enables height to be gained quickly. I stop to catch my breath and as my breathing slows, I begin to hear the sound of bellowing stags – it’s incredible. I push on towards the loch, which starts to come into view as I crest a rise on the hill.
I decide to continue up onto the hills above the loch, making my way towards the summit of Green Hill. I intermittently stop to look back at the dramatic views across Brandy and the hills beyond. I also make a few friends on the way.
Walking North-West from Green Hill, past a second cairn, a grassy track rounds the top of the Corrie before dipping across a gully where I need to negotiate a brief bit of bog before making my way up the Snub at the other-side of Loch Brandy. I find a quiet place overlooking the water to enjoy my lunch and spend a while watching the ever changing weather, before descending the path to South of the Snub and retracing my steps back toward the hotel.
The Climbers Bar – Glen Clova Hotel & Lodges
I am sitting in the corner – it is warm and homely. The bar is furnished with walking boots, poles and maps. Antlers take centre stage above the roaring fire. I think about the stories which have been shared under this roof and the journeys of people who have sat in this room. This is a place of history, and a welcome retreat after a long day on the hills.
There is a strong focus on local produce and drinks – dogs are also welcome. My server is happy to talk me through their range of vegetarian dishes and I treat myself to a mildly spiced chickpea and spinach curry which is perfectly complemented by wild rice – I feel well looked after. I take my time to savour the delicious array of flavours, whilst watching the dancing flames of the fire.
The fire begins to fizzle out and my day is drawing to a close. My mind harks back to yesterdays wander into Corrie fee and I think about the roar of water amongst the Autumn colours at Glen Doll. Today I stood in an ancient landscape – a relic of the ice age. I feel spoiled.
Angus has earned a slice of my heart.