Glen Esk (or Glenesk) is one of the most beautiful Angus glens that penetrate into the eastern side of the Scottish Highlands – glens that once provided sanctuary for historical greats such as William Wallace, Robert the Bruce, the Marquis of Montrose and Viscount Claverhouse). Glenesk together with Glen Isla, Prosen, Lethnot and Clova form the major Angus Glens. In the upper valley there are numerous waterfalls, rich with local history, abundant wildlife and a chance to see mountain plants and animals.
At almost 15 miles long, Glenesk is the longest of the Angus Glens and is still a thriving community, with inhabited houses all the way up the glen. To reach the Glen take the 15 mile road, north of Edzell that climbs along the River North Esk.
Glenesk offers a varied range of experiences of riding in the Angus area. There are also some excellent hiking routes further up the glen, including one to Queen’s Well and another up Mount Keen, Scotland’s most easterly Munro. The stone crown at Queen’s Well stands as a memorial to Queen Victoria, who greatly enjoyed exploring these hills from her Highland retreat at Balmoral. You also can see pretty Loch Lee, a reservoir in the southern Grampians of Angus, who lies at the head of Glenesk.
The small village of Tarfside is the largest settlement in Glenesk and can be found three quarters of the way along the glen. The village of Edzell lies at the mouth of the glen.
Glenesk is just over an hour from Dundee and Aberdeen, 16 miles from Brechin and 11 miles from Edzell. If you are coming from further afield it will take you approx 1 hour 30 mins from Perth and 2 hours 20 mins from Edinburgh.
The main activity of this area has always been agriculture, supplemented by tourism thanks to its picturesque qualities, hotels and sport, hunting and fishing. It boasts its own customs and strong sense of community. It is easily accessed from the B966, Edzell/Fettercairn road off the A90.
Glenesk is divided into three privately owned estates where the main interest is sporting – grouse and pheasant shooting and deer stalking.
Although there may be fewer people living in the glen now, there are three churches, and Masonic Lodge. Archaeological and historical landmarks, with their own stories, are an important part of the culture and landscape of the area.
On the Hill of Rowan, a short distance to the east of Tarfside can be seen the outlines of Bronze Age settlements, three thousand years old. The Rowan Tower, also on the Hill of Rowan and properly called the Maule Cairn, was built in 1866 by Fox Maule, 11th Earl of Dalhousie. It was erected as a memorial to deceased members of his family, including his brother Lauderdale Maule, M.P. who died of cholera during the Crimean War.
Glenesk now offers the opportunity to see and walk on the mountains, yet be only a short drive away from busy towns and cities! Today, they are a popular venue for getting away from it all!
Place type: Valley
Location: Grid Ref: NO 5229 7726 • X/Y co-ords: 352298, 777267 • Lat/Long: 56.8843,-2.78445303
County/Unitary Authority: Angus