When we came back from Assynt in September this year we stopped off overnight in Angus and Dundee to break the journey up a bit. I had booked it last minute and picked the first place I could find around the half way point – I had never really thought about Angus and Dundee before. What we saw in the 24 hours we were there was definitely enough to convince me that we need to go back!
We managed two short walks while we were there and the countryside we drove through was stunning. Sadly we didn’t get the chance to call in to the Angus Glens other than our short walk to Reekie Linn, something I definitely intend to rectify when we can find the time!
Plan A was to drive down from Lochinver to Dunnottar Castle near Stonehaven and do a short 3 mile circular walk stopping off to explore the castle itself. We booked our tickets a few days before and arrived in Stonehaven at around 2pm as planned. However, when I checked my phone I saw that I had an email from the castle stating that they had had to close due to high winds, probably a sensible decision given the winds in Stonehaven harbour!
We therefore spent about 15 minutes scouring Walkhighlands for a walk that we could drive to, complete and arrive at our B&B before 6pm. There was a surprising amount of choice and we very nearly went to the Caterthun Forts, but instead settled on the slightly shorter waterfall walk at Reekie Linn.
The Reekie Linn walk starts from a free car park just by the Bridge of Craigisla. The car park is especially for the waterfall, but the sign is very weathered, so it’s not really legible until you get very close to it! There are some picnic benches along the river in the car park area and I have to say it’s one of the most picturesque car parks I’ve ever been to.
The walk itself is a short linear walk passing through a wooded gorge to reach a view point of the Reekie Linn waterfall. The path is generally flat with no steep ascents or descents, however, there is the odd tree root that you need to climb over. There were a few families with small children when we visited which gives an indication of how easy this walk is – however, I would be very nervous bringing children here, due to the completely unguarded 40m drop at the side of the path! Stick to the path and you should be fine but don’t look over the edge if you don’t have a head for heights.
The waterfall itself is stunning and well worth the fifteen minutes of easy walking to reach the viewing point. You can continue down the path away from the waterfall, but the path does gradually deteriorate and is increasingly encroached on by trees and brambles, and at some point you will need to turn around to retrace your footsteps. We probably walked for another 10-15 minutes before turning around and heading back to the car.
There is a cave in the side of the gorge past the waterfall called Black Dub – you can’t see it, but it is there. It is said that in the medieval period, a local outlaw was hiding in the gorge and saw the Devil in the form of a black dog in this cave, and was so scared that he went and handed himself in! We didn’t see any giant black dogs on our walk though – apart from Coal, that is…
Dog friendly rating – 2/5. Really, this is a walk for people rather than dogs. The 40m drop meant that it wouldn’t have been safe to let the dogs off the lead, and the river is only accessible by the car park (ours did pop in for a paddle here though). The path is narrow in places too which meant that passing other walkers could get a little tricky near the edge! However, this is a charming walk and was great for a quick stop off. The trees also provided plenty of shade on what was a surprising sunny Saturday in Scotland!
Auchterhouse Hill is one of the three main summits in this part of the Sidlaw Hills, which straddle the border between Perthshire and Angus. Most routes available online combine the climb up Auchterhouse with nearby Balluderon and Craigowl Hills, such as this one on Walkhighlands, but we just wanted to do a shorter walk before driving home and just did a circular up to and down from Auchterhouse Hill.
Auchterhouse Hill is one of the main points of interest in the Sidlaws with the summit being the site of an Iron Age Pictish fort. There are still earthworks visible today, and if that doesn’t take your fancy, perhaps the panoramic views over the Firth of Tay and beyond will.
The views were absolutely amazing up on the hill, and we had a wonderfully crisp late September morning, with the bluest sky we’d had for weeks. The walk starts from the Balkello community woodland car park, which is free to use and has plenty of spaces, but was already half full when we arrived at 9am! The woodland here would also be a great place for a walk and has a few different way marked trails you could choose from, with all the paths we walked on being well surfaced and level.
Dog friendly rating – 5/5. Pretty much everyone we saw in the car park or on the walk had a dog with them, and it’s easy to understand why! This walk is perfect for dogs with plenty of space to run off the lead with no livestock to worry about. There are currently no bins in use so make sure any poo is picked up and taken away to dispose of. I found this walk on Instagram using the hashtag #dogfriendlyangusanddundee and there were so many wonderful photos people had shared – enough to convince me that a return trip would 100% be required!
Where we stayed
We stayed at the absolutely outstanding Newton Farm Holidays B&B near Forfar which I found on the Visit Scotland website. We couldn’t have been made more welcome, the room was absolutely stunning and don’t even get me started on the wonderful breakfast! Sam was also completely thrilled to find a Nespresso coffee machine in the room, while the fresh milk in the mini fridge was perfect for relaxing with a cup of tea.
Dog friendly rating – 5/5! 100%! I can’t emphasise enough just how welcome the dogs were made. There was a bed, blanket, water bowl and chews waiting for us in the room. We’d said on our booking form that Coal was a little nervous of dogs and every effort was made to make him feel more comfortable, including shutting away their dogs when we arrived and when we were coming in or out. We were also very kindly allowed to use one of the enclosed stubble fields to let the dogs have a good run around – something that they definitely appreciated after a long drive down from Lochinver! This photo was taken on the morning we left when we took them for a last blast around the field and it was one of the best mornings we had on the whole trip.
We will definitely be coming back to Angus and Dundee – we had an amazing time and there is so much more waiting to be explored! If you’ve enjoyed reading this blog today make sure that you subscribe below: