A stiff brandy, please
By Colin Hogarth
Seek out the scenic delights of a hidden lochan on this circular route that starts and finishes in the tiny village of Clova. The walk offers some stunning panoramas over one of the finest glens in Angus and, while there is some hard work, the effort is well rewarded.
Leave the car park, turn right and follow the minor road west over a narrow stone bridge spanning the Corrie Burn to reach the Clova Hotel. The way passes through a gravel car park to the right of the building. At a sign for 'Public footpath to Glenesk', it continues through a small copse of woodland, emerging on to open hillside beyond. The path crosses a stile and is clear and easy to follow.
There is a steady climb early on but the way soon flattens out to to run north over peaty moorland, following a line of fence posts further up. The slope is carpeted in heather which blooms bright pink in the summer and, if you hunt them out during August particularly, blaeberries make a refreshing snack. As you rise, great views open up below over the fertile plains of Glen Clova, the River South Esk looping its way through green fields of sheep and cattle. Prepare yourself for another short pull higher up. The effort is worth it when you rise over the lip of the coire and see Loch Brandy for the first time. Before you lies a deep pool of dark water snuggling in the curving arms of rock which rise up dramatically from the quiet shores. It's a good spot for a paddle, but remember the water is deep in the middle and likely to be pretty chilly, even in the heat of the summer. Loch Brandy is said to be the only site in Scotland where a very rare and tiny water creature called the diatom is to be found. It is bright orange in colour.
Take a well deserved rest by the water, then continue up the path through heather on to The Snub, a craggy shoulder separating Loch Brandy on your right and Corrie of Clova to the left. There are steep drops on both sides so take care. Admiring the scenery is always a good excuse if you need to pause for breath here. At the top of The Snub the path flattens out to reveal a wide open plain ahead. The remote landscape is frequented by herds of red deer and wild mountain hair. You might also spot grouse, ptarmigan and, in spring and summer, the elusive dotterel. The path skirts right, following the top of the coire round with steep cliffs below.As you continue above Loch Brandy, the path reaches a junction. Go left to the summit of Green Hill, an unremarkable little hump in the heather. Then continue over open moorland to reach the top of Ben Tirran. Head south over the shoulder and pick out the path down to Loch Wharrel, a popular spot with pike fishermen. From the southern most point of the lochan, an obvious path descends to the Adrielinn Plantation and a path skirts down the side of the trees. Turn right just before you reach the road on another path which rises and falls over a series of low mounds. This runs parallel with the road for a way to reach a pond in trees and, on the far side, it curves round to join the B955. Follow the road back to Clova.