Glen Esk is a beautiful place of mountains, forest, wildlife, peace and fantastic cycling and walking opportunities. It is located in the Angus region of Scotland, around 40 miles south of Aberdeen.
This is why you must visit this special place:
1. Mountain Scenery
Glen Esk is at the foot of the Cairngorms National Park so everywhere you look there is a vista of lush green Scottish mountains.
2. A beautiful road into the glen
A 16 mile single-track road from the town of Edzell is the only way into and out of the glen. The road has very low volumes of traffic and is glorious for cycling.
3. Queen's Well Walk
It is the strangest thing to see this crown shaped monument, with nothing but hills and sheep in the vicinity. It was built by local people to commemorate a visit by Queen Victoria. You can reach it on a spectacular walk where purple Heather blooms in the summer months.
4. The Three Churches
For such a remote area with a low population it is quite amazing to find three churches in Glen Esk. All of them have their doors open so you can look inside and enjoy their tranquility, Maul Memorial Church is substantial with a tower, stained glass and high ceiling. Lochlee Church is tiny. In the yard there is an unusual gravestone, shaped like an anvil, that was created for the village blacksmith who had lived to the age of 90.
5. Glen Esk Folk Museum
This museum has a giant willow sculpture of a stag on the lawn. There is a collection of artefacts, costumes and reconstructions of what Glen Esk houses were like in the 1850s. This is the place to learn about the people of the glen and what their lives were like. There is also a cafe with excellent home baking.
6. Blue Door Walk
Open up the blue door and on the other side there is a special world of forest paths, rock pools and a fast flowing stream. It is a real life secret garden! The water is incredibly clear, providing a flawless view to the river's floor of pebbles.
7. Loch Lee
Loch Lee is located at the very end of the Glen Esk road. It is completely enclosed by mountains so has a feeling of great remoteness. There is a rough track along the shore which is great fun to cycle.
8. Invermark Castle
Also at the end of the road is Glen Esk's castle. It is a ruin and you cannot go inside, but looks great, so is ideal for your very own Scottish castle postcard photo.
9. Wildlife Spotting
Glen Esk is teeming with wildlife. There is a good chance of spotting a Golden Eagle, deer and red squirrels. One of the best viewing spots for squirrels is from the dining room window of the House of Mark guesthouse.
10. Stay in the House at the end of the Glen
House of Mark is the only accommodation in the glen. There are no hotels, pubs or shops. This makes it a unique and peaceful place to stay overnight. The interior has been kept true to its Georgian roots making you feel like you have gone back to a simpler and more elegant time. There are special touches like rooms scented of smoke from the fireplaces and a dinner table set with crystal glasses and white napkins. There are no televisions, but conversation with fellow guests and the hosts is much more entertaining.
Read my review of House of Mark
Getting to Glen Esk
It is about 30 miles from Montrose to the end of Glen Esk. If you travel from Laurencekirk the distance is around 23 miles. There are train stations at Montrose and Laurencekirk.
For more details about cycling to Glen Esk read my travel feature.