Updated: Sep 6, 2021
Above the Angus Glens
Some of the best bike rides / adventures you ever have stem from conversations you have when you are out riding. So it proved with something my pal Gordy Bennett suggested to me - A Bon Scott Tribute ride. Scott, the late (original) singer of Rock Band AC/DC would've been 75 on the 9th of July 2021, and Gordy had the idea that we should plan a ride starting in Kirriemuir and heading through the Angus Glens.
What followed wasn't "The Highway to Hell" but a scenic ride through two stunning glens that we only managed to link up by rolling the dice and following a little known path. Something I'm sure that Bon Scott would have approved of!
Not so "Highway to Hell" Route and Elevation Data
Before the ride could begin we had to locate the statue and take some photo's. There's a plaque beside the statue dedicated to both Bon Scott and Malcolm Young who sadly passed in 2017. And as much as it pays tribute to these Rock Legends, this is place of celebration and recognition of Kirriemuir's most famous son.
In fact I couldn't help but think that the statue was the embodiment of that great Scottish word "Gallus"
A legendary Rock Star and some rascal standing beside him
After we had persuaded a (reluctant) local into taking a photo of us with the statue it was time to get the bikes ready for the ride. We paused to see what else was in the area and were surprised to find out that in addition to the Bon Scott and JM Barrie (Peter Pan) statues there was also one for Captain Scott (of the Antarctic). Scott and his men trained for their ill fated expedition in the area. This was in Glen Prosen, so we headed there first.
Captain Scott and Dr Wilson Memorial
It was a steep pull to get to the statue, but the roads were thankfully quiet and on reaching it, the views began to open up. Just beyond this bend is a trail head that gives access to the striking Airlie Monument.
We decided to push on and descend initially on the road towards Glen Prosen village. This allowed us to take in some great views. That is until we crossed a bridge and a hairpin turn forced both of us into the "Granny Ring" with its initial steep pitches. A few minutes wheezing / dancing out of the saddle then saw us crest that section of road leaving a descent towards the head of Glen Prosen.
Descending toward the head of Glen Prosen
It was here that Gordy's plan started to unravel and he realised there was no easy (make that, short) way of linking the two glens!
With no phone signal or Komoot file to follow we scratched our heads for a moment and then using what can only be described as the "gid scot's tongue in his heid", Gordy befriended a local. No sooner than you could belt out "It's along way to the top" we were heading cross country on the "Minister's Path." This old drovers road provided a means for the minister to preach in both parishes (Glen Prosen and Glen Clova) in a a single day.
On the Ministers Path
The initial section of the Minister's path was more of a "Hike-a-bike" and we wondered just what we had got ourselves into, but sure enough the incline eased and a grassy path revealed itself. This allowed us to start making quicker progress and we were rewarded to some fine views.
Looking towards Glen Clova
The path is about 3Km long and has grades varying from 2.5 to 14.5%. The descent to Glen Clova was via a boneshaking landrover track that had some fairly big boulders. We kept our nerve and our asses on the bike to get to the southern Glen Clova Road. From there it was relatively straightforward ride to the Glen Clova Hotel.
The Glen Clova Hotel is well placed to serve a base for exploring the surrounding glen's. from here there is easy access to Glen Doll and the munro's of Driesh and Mayar. You can also access Jock's Road from here and with a mountain bike and a heap of determination you'd have a great adventure getting to Braemar. It's not to be taken lightly tho' and with a high point of 920m you have to be well prepared and highly skilled to attempt it.
Looking up Glen Doll from Glen Clova
For us a return to Kirriemuir was on the cards and after a cup of tea we set off along the North Glen Clova road. Its a pretty undulating road with lots of short rises that make it interesting. There's a few good spots for wild camping near the Gella Bridge Picnic Area.
Gella Bridge (Old and New)
View back towards Glen Clova
Once past the Gella bridge we soon reached the junction point where we had diverted earlier to Glen Prosen. From there is was a case of retracing our route back to Kirriemuir. We arrived back at the car park, packed up the bikes and headed for an ice cream in the square.
For those not having to drive back home there is chippy on hand (for Reed Puddin's) and a pub to raise a glass to Bon Scott, the original front man of AC/DC!
Bon Scott https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bon_Scott
Check out - https://www.clova.com/ for the Glen Clova Hotel
For Reed Puddins etc... https://www.facebook.com/TheSteepleKirriemuir/ is a good bet.
For Beers https://www.facebook.com/3Bellies/
For a guide to Kirriemuir and the surrounding area https://social.shorthand.com/Visit_Angus
Distance - 53.77Km
Height gain - 765m
Moving time - 2hrs 53 Mins
Statues encountered - 3 (Bon Scott, Peter Pan and Captain Scott)
Navigational Errors - 1
Classic Albums listened to - 2 (High Voltage, Highway to Hell)