Walk 202 – Glen Doll Forest Trail, Angus – 5 miles

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The point where the path splits near the start. We hesitated for a few moments here, because the temptation was to continue along the main path like everyone else seemed to be doing. A quick check of the map confirmed that we were to take the right fork, and the forestry commission sign for Jock’s Road backed that up.

Set in the heart of the Angus Glens within the Cairngorms National Park, a walk through Glen Doll offers the perfect balance of forest trails and breath-taking mountain scenery. Follow the course of the energetic White Water into the forest, emerging at the far end to a wide open vista, then cross the burn and return to the start on forestry trails along the other side of the water. Keep your eyes peeled for otters, red squirrels, roe deer and pine marten within the forest, and on the craggy hillsides high above you might spot a golden eagle, buzzard or peregrine falcon. Binoculars and cameras at the ready!

Dog-friendly route (Note: signage at the start of the Glen requests that dogs be kept on leads)

Car park at Glen Doll Ranger Base, Kirriemuir (DD8 4RD). No public transport to start point.

Route: Starting from the Glen Doll Ranger Base car park, head towards the base and follow the track to the left of the building to reach the start of Jock’s Road, just beyond Glendoll Farm and Blair House. Note the way-marker indicating different coloured routes – for this one follow the blue marker posts. Continue along this track for approx 1.3km, with the White Water on your left. You will reach a fork in the route. Take the minor path to the right (West), signposted “Jock’s Road Braemar 14mls”. For the next 2.5km enjoy a pleasant trail through the forest with the fast-flowing White Water by your left-hand side all the way. As you emerge from the trees, turn left (South) off of Jock’s Road, onto a narrow trail running down the treeline towards the burn where there is a large wooden footbridge. Cross over the footbridge and turn left (South East) to follow a good forestry trail back down the glen. After 2km you will cross a boardwalk-style footbridge taking you across the Fee Burn, a tributary to the White Water. Turn left after crossing. 400m along the trail there is a larger footbridge to your left. You have the choice to either cross this (it will lead you back to your earlier point at the “Jock’s Road Braemar 14mls” fork) or you can keep right (ie, don’t cross the bridge) to continue 1.3km further downstream to the next bridge which is hard surfaced with wire/metal railings. Whichever bridge you choose, turn right (East) after crossing it and retrace your steps back to Glen Doll Ranger Base car park.

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Our last day in the Cairngorms started with an early rise and a drive along stunning Glen Clova to reach the car park at the foot of Glen Doll. We arrived around 9am and were surprised at how many cars were already parked up at the Ranger base. We’d hardly met a soul the whole way along the single track road. All going the same way I suppose!…. We were here thanks to a recommendation I’d received before leaving home: I’d never heard of Glen Doll before so doubtful we’d have found ourselves here otherwise. The route we walked was predominantly a forestry trail which follows the course of the White Water into Glen Doll using Jock’s Road – an ancient sheep-droving route and the oldest public right of way in Scotland. As we emerged from the forest at the furthest end of the walk, we had a brief rest break to enjoy the incredible mountain vista which had just opened up before us (and also some jelly beans!), before heading back down the glen on the other side of the river. I’d love to come back and explore more of the trails around this area!

Lovely trail through the forest, the White Water by our side all the way. Much of the forest in Glen Doll is fairly new, having been planted in the last fifty years – a mix of Scots pine, sitka spruce, larch and silver birch.
We emerged out of the forest to this amazing view further into Glen Doll! Jock’s Road continues a further 12 or so miles towards Braemar. We turned left here, heading for the footbridge over the burn.
An easy stroll on well-worn forestry tracks down the other side of the burn took us all the way back to the ranger base.
The White Water. Just upstream of this photo there was a giant boulder in the water which had split right down the middle, leaving a gap big enough to climb though….. My husband was brave enough to go and do just that. I stood at the side and took his photo

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