(078) Tarfside-Hill of Rowan Circuit (Angus)

Route Summary
This walk in the Angus Glens is characterised by open views of the sheep grazing country and high hills of the eastern Cairngorms. The short, but steep, ascent to the imposing monument at the top of the Hill of Rowan is rewarded by a fantastic panorama.

Duration: 3 hours.


Route Overview
Duration: 3 hours.
Transport/Parking: No public transport services to Tarfside. Free parking at the walk start/end point.
Length: 7.420 km / 4.64 mi
Height Gain: 188 meter.
Height Loss: 188 meter.
Max Height: 373 meter.
Min Height: 196 meter.
Surface: Moderate. More than half the walk is on good vehicle tracks with grass or heather moorland surroundings. The 3 km return section from Waypoint 8 is on a quiet minor public road.
Child Friendly: Yes, if children are used to walks of this distance and overall ascent.
Difficulty: Medium.
Dog Friendly: Yes, on lead on public roads and near farm animals. You are very likely to encounter sheep from Waypoint 3 to Waypoint 8. Take care, too, around ground-nesting birds.
Refreshments: We can recommend the Arches cafe in Fettercairn, Also, options in Edzell.

This is a fairly gentle introduction to walking in the Angus Hills, although there is a short but steep ascent to the summit of the Hill of Rowan (which is optional). The Hill of Rowan is a rounded, heather-clad low hill at the head of Glen Esk, with a large distinctive stone monument on top, which stands out for miles around. From the hilltop and elsewhere, there are marvellous views of this remote area, particularly down to the River North Esk, the high end of Glen Esk, the entrance to Glen Mark, and the many surrounding hills at the eastern edge of the Cairngorms. The walk starts and ends at the tiny hamlet of Tarfside, at the higher end of Glen Esk, where employment is mostly associated with hill farming (largely sheep), and the private estates dedicated to shooting and fishing. The settlement was once an important staging post for drovers taking cattle to southern markets over the Fungle and Firmounth routes from Deeside. There are three churches in this small community, and a Christian presence here can be traced back to St Drostan in the early 600s. At almost 15 miles long, Glen Esk is the longest and most open of the Angus Glens, enabling a transition along the River North Esk from the gentle arable farmland around Edzell to the high mountain peaks and corries at Invermark, and beyond. A curious feature of the walk is the imposing Maule Monument at the summit of the Hill of Rowan – “… constructed in 1866 by Fox Maule Ramsay, 11th Earl of Dalhousie (1801-74), to commemorate seven deceased members of his family, together with the then-living Lady Christian Maule, Lady Ramsay Macdonald and the Earl himself. It is rubble-built, with a chimney-like finial and has been B-listed since 1971.” Thanks to Scottish Places. See: https://t.ly/RV9p. And, more Glen Esk information here: https://t.ly/p9wG and https://t.ly/ex3R .

Photos from walk
Download Route Guide  (PDF with illustrated Waypoints)
Download GPX file  (GPS Exchange Format)
Access Walk on Viewranger
Access Walk on Wikiloc  


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