Location: Around Kirriemuir, Angus

Distance: 4.5 miles/7km

Time: 2-3 hours

Grade: Moderate countryside walk

In Search of Endless Youth

Angus Council have been diligent in developing excellent path networks for all of the major towns in the area, and Kirriemuir is no exception. By combining sections of several of the promoted walks, this route offers a satisfying tour of the countryside around Kirriemuir with the opportunity to explore the historic town centre as well.

Kirriemuir is a couthy wee town, aptly called the ‘Gateway to the Glens’ and also widely known as the birthplace of the playwright J.M.Barrie, who gave us Peter Pan, the symbol of eternal youth. There is a statue of Peter outside the Gateway to the Glens Museum which makes a fitting climax to the walk. I cannot guarantee that doing this walk will provide you with any sort of elixir but it should bring colour to your cheeks at the least!

The walk starts by following the Gairie Burn through Kirrie Den, an area owned by the community, and featuring a slight surprise in the form of an attractive waterfall. The walk continues across open country with good views before another woodland section. Roads are then followed but very good use has been made of the woodland strip bordering these roads and for the most part you can walk in the trees rather than on the tarmac.

On the return leg the walk passes Kirriemuir’s Camera Obscura, one of only three such instruments in Scotland (the others are in Edinburgh and Dumfries). It provides a quite magnificent panorama of the Angus countryside looking up towards the bigger hills of the Cairngorms. The Camera Obscura lay unused for some years but has now been taken over and restored by a local trust, and can be visited at certain times (see information panel).

The Camera Obscura is in a cricket pavilion which Barrie gave to the town when he was made Freeman of Kirriemuir (the only person to receive this honour) in 1930. Before returning to the town centre, the walk goes through the very well kept cemetery where Barrie’s grave is signposted. After that, a short diversion would take you to Barrie’s Birthplace, owned by the National Trust for Scotland and telling the story of his life and his links to Kirriemuir, which he gently satirised as ‘Thrums’ in his books.

As you return to the car park you may see that Kirriemuir is still honouring its famous sons, for nearby is a lifesize statue of the AC/DC pop group vocalist Bon Scott by John McKenna. It was largely funded by subscription from fans of AC/DC.

Kirriemuir is a very welcoming place and I am sure that doing this walk will act as a taster to prompt many further visits to the ‘Gateway to the Glens’.

Roger Smith


Map: OS 1:50,000 Landranger sheet 54 (Dundee & Montrose) or 1:25,000 Explorer sheet 381 (Blairgowrie, Kirriemuir & Glamis). Excellent free Kirriemuir Path Network map available locally.

Distance: 4.5 miles/7km.

Time: 2-3 hours.

Start/Finish: Bellies Brae car park, Kirriemuir (GR: NO385538).

Public transport: Stagecoach bus 20 from Dundee via Forfar. Details from www.stagecoachbus.com

Information: Glens Museum, Kirriemuir (01575 577140) or https://visitangus.com/kirriemuir


From car park walk down steps to the Den and turn R. Follow path across minor road and on, beside burn. At fork go R and walk out to road. Cross and continue with path beside Gairie Burn. In about 1.5km at clear fork go R (path L goes to Loch of Kinnordy). Follow sometimes vague path across open area and back into woods, swinging R and becoming a track. TR on path inside wood just before road, later walking on road as signed. At junction turn R and at next junction turn L as signed, walking just inside wood where possible. Turn R on broad track which becomes road. Keep ahead (Windy Ghoul Road, Angle Road, West Hill Road) and turn R on access road to Camera Obscura. Pass to R of clubhouse and take path to gate into cemetery. Follow signs for J.M.Barrie’s grave. Leave cemetery by main entrance (Cemetery Road) and turn R on Brechin Road. Walk down to town centre, which can be explored using the Kirriemuir Heritage Trail leaflet. To finish, walk down brae back to car park.

Note: The Camera Obscura is open on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, April to October and by special arrangement at other times. See www.kirriemuircameraobscura.com . The Gateway to the Glens Museum is open Tue-Sat, 10am-5pm https://visitangus.com/kirriemuir or 01575 577140. Barrie’s Birthplace (NTS) is open Apr-Sep, Fri-Mon 11am-4pm (01575 572646), or see www.nts.org.uk