Thursday, 29 April 2010

5 great family walks in the Angus Glens

Families who exercise together are more likely to lead happier, healthier lives. It's what the experts suggest and, really, it's commonsense. If parents can create a keep-fit routine for all the family then the children will learn by example, and will be more likely to take these good, healthy habits with them when they go on to lead their own lives.

And one of the best ways to enjoy exercising together is walking. Now that spring has arrived there are many more opportunities to step out into the hills, along rivers, beside lochs or wherever the fancy takes you. Make sure, though, that you choose a walk that is pitched to suit the youngest in your family.

In the Angus Glens we are lucky enough to have a host of walks ideally suited to families. Here we bring you five of our favourites. All these routes can be found on the award-winning walks website Walk Highlands.

1) Reekie Linn, Glen Isla, 1km, 40 minutes. The Reekie Linn is a stunning waterfall and this short walk takes in this awesome sight (sure to keep the kids happy), as well as some lovely woodland.

2) Corrie Fee, Glen Clova, 7.5km, 2.5hrs. This walk is better suited to families with older children as there is an uphill hike (gentle but quite long) to the viewpoint. But the effort is worth it for the stunning views in this National Nature Reserve.

3) Rocks of Solitude, Edzell, 10.5km, 3hrs. A beautiful circuit walk along the North Esk river taking in a dramatic gorge and woodland.

4) Seaton Cliffs, Arbroath, 12km, 4hrs. The coastline in this part of the world is stunning and this walk heads along the top of sandstone cliffs for even better views. Suited to older children because of the cliffs.

5) Montrose Basin, 6km, 2hrs. The Montrose Basin is a huge and fascinating tidal basin comprising mud, sand, marshes and reed beds. During this walk you'll also visit two wildlife hides.

As with all family walks remember to wear comfortable boots and waterproofs. If you're going off the beaten track ensure you have a map and compass with you. And children always welcome snacks and drinks along the way.

So where will you be walking with your family this spring and summer?

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Survey reveals four top walking boots

Are you thinking of replacing your walking boots, or perhaps buying your first pair in preparation for summer in the Scottish hills? The latest news is that a study has found that you don't need to splash out to get a decent pair of walking boots. The Which? report revealed four best buying walking boots in a price range of £90 to £115.

The four boots included:
Berghaus Explorer Light: "Comfy with a good grip". £100

Hi-Tec V-Lite Altitude Ultra Luxe: "Waterproof and suitable to wear all day." £100 (For a good review of Hi-tec boots see FionaOutdoors' blog)

Brasher Lithium GTX: "Snug and flexible, but poor at letting moisture out." £90

Salomon 3D Fastpacker Mid GTX: "Light, durable and very flexible but little ankle support." £115

Friday, 16 April 2010

Two "easy" Munros for starters

Corrie Fee

By definition the summit of Scotland's 283 Munros must be at least 3000ft (914.4m). Of course, some are much higher than this (think Ben MacDui at 4295ft and Ben Nevis at 4,409ft, to name a few biggies). Some Munros also require a significant expedition and others require guidance if you are not an experienced walker. But there are a number of Munros that are at the other end of the scale. Some that might even be classed as "quite easy" outings, so long as you're relatively fit.

As luck would have it two of the "easiest" Munros are located in the Angus Glens. These are Driesh (3106ft) and Mayar (3044ft), in Glen Clova. It's possible to summit these peaks on two separate occasions, or as a pair in one 5hr outing if you fancy a longer day. The circular outing is around 8 or 9 miles. The total ascent walking to the peaks of these two Munros is a manageable 2700ft. The reason for this lowly figure is that the start point (at the car park at the end of Glen Clova) for the walk is not at sea level - more like 850ft - so you do not need to climb the full 3000ft to the top of each peak.


Another interesting point is that while to qualify as Munro there needs to be a drop and ascent of at least 500ft between mountain tops this can sometimes mean that it's possible to reach the summit of a number of Munros one after the other with only a 500ft descent and ascent in between.


The other bonus of Mayar, in particular, is that the path to the top is a reasonably gentle incline. We're not talking easy-peasy here but it isn't hugely steep either.

But this "easier" Munro bagging outing in Angus doesn't mean that walkers need to sacrifice fine landscapes and views. The walk heads through some stunning scenery and takes in Corrie Fee, a national nature reserve where you find many wildlife treasures. On a clear day the views from the top of these Munros are gorgeous. You'll feast on vistas that take in the Lochnagar Hills to the north, Glenshee to the west and even out to the North Sea on the east. From Mayar there are views of the Southern Cairngorms. Awesome!

Glentrek can offer more information about this splendid walk, or we can guide you or a group. If you want to self-guide then why not let us find accommodation for you in the area?

Alternatively you can check out a range of websites that offer route information including Walking Highlands , Walk Scotland or record breaking Munro bagger Steve Fallon's site

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Over-50s are looking for adventure

So it seems that a new holidaying trend is “active and adventurous breaks for the over-50s”. Apparently the “greying brigade” is looking for a combination of “adventurous day-time activities” combined with “good-quality accommodation options and fine dining”. The 50-plus traveller is not, it's clear, up for roughing it.

Now, in our opinion, 50 is not old. Indeed, in the 21st century many people believe that 50 is the new 40. But what is significant is that after the age of 50 many people find they have greater freedom (from kids or work ties) and a little extra cash in their pockets. For a growing majority, too, their later years are the time to explore and discover new activities and destinations, many of which may not have been possible due to family commitments etc.

Tying in with this theme we have found at Glentrek that many more over-50s customers are fit and active – and looking for a “real adventure”. This is not to say they want to push themselves to the limits during a walking holiday (they’re happy to leave this kind of silliness to the 20-year-olds!) but they are keen for a challenge.

One of the most popular walking trips for the over-50s has proved to be the Cateran Trail Holiday. This fascinating, long-ish distance walk offers the chance for self-navigation in beautiful, wild but not-too-remote countryside. The holiday also includes five nights in up-market three star or four star accommodation and all for an attractive price of £289.

As one 50-plus retired couple commented recently: “The Glentrek Cateran Trail Holiday is EXACTLY the type of holiday for us. The walking is challenging enough – not too strenuous but not to easy, either – the hotels are good quality and the price is right.”

Thursday, 1 April 2010

A wealth of off-road cycling in the Angus Glens

Scotland is renowned as a superb mountain biking destination. There are numerous mountain biking centres spread across the country offering a wealth of cycling routes for all abilities. Many of Scotland's off-road trails are also suited to cyclists – and with an eye on the map it's possible to enjoy some amazing get-away-from-it all mountain biking adventures.

In the Angus Glens a network of bike-friendly trails head through atmospheric glens and because the routes are often undulating there are many possibilities for cyclists of all fitness levels. In this region, you'll find easy-going forest tracks, wilder cross-country trails and everything in between.

But if you're new to the area it's not always easy to know where to start. The Angus Glens is surprisingly "uncharted" for mountain bikers despite offering many, many miles of great riding opportunities. If you're looking for a few ideas then why not join Glentrek on one of our guided cycling weekends? Because our biking leaders know the area so well, you'll be able to relax, keep the wheels turning and enjoy the scenery as it rolls on by.

Or make the most of your time with one of our self-guided biking holidays. Our cycling trips can be created to suit your ability and we'll tell you about all the attractions that you might like to see along the way. We can also arrange accommodation en route to suit your budget – and if you want to lighten the load why not let us transport your luggage between hotels or B&Bs? With a self-guided trip you'll enjoy the advantages of enjoying a great, well-planned route but you can decide on the speed and distance that you travel each day.

Cycling is a great way to cover the miles in the Angus Glens – and offers the opportunity for remote-feeling riding but without ever being too far from civilisation. Oh, and if you're looking for something more challenging, we can arrange that, too. You just have to ask!