Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

HIKING: Druim Dearg near Kilry a satisfying climb off the beaten track

Post Thumbnail

Hiking established trails and well-walked paths safe in the knowledge there should be no obstacles along the way inspires confidence and offers a comforting level of safety and security when exploring the great outdoors.

There are days, however, when I enjoy branching off the beaten track, studying maps and aerial photographs to find potential routes in out of the way places that may or may not translate well on the ground.

Some flounder in impenetrable forestry criss-crossed by frustrating fences, are washed out by bridges lost to streams in spate, or simply get entangled in the stinging nettles and prickly thistles of overlooked and overgrown paths.

Fortunately, other trips are more successful – and satisfying – and my ascent of Druim Dearg via Broom Hill over a route with a rather macabre history was one of these.

The 453-metre high peak is a potentially easy hit, the summit only 400 metres from the nearest road, a half hour there and back hike were I in a hurry. But as hurry is not something I tend to do in the hills, I set off a couple of kilometres to the south, from a layby on what feels like one of the most remote roads in Angus, the single-track Kilry to Brewlands Bridge byway.

A gravel road led me to the base of Broom Hill where I spotted, pinned to a fence post, a ScotWays (Scottish Rights of Way and Access Society) waymarker arrow, a promising sign I would find a way through the trees cloaking the peak.

A little research revealed I was travelling an old coffin road, a route over which the folk of Kilry and the surrounding glen carried their dead to the church and burial ground in Kirkton of Glenisla, perhaps as far back as the 17th century.

It must have been quite a challenge for the pallbearers as the road, now a grassy path cutting through a break in the conifers, climbs steadily, passing over the unmarked summit of Broom Hill before descending to a broken gate.

The next section rather moist underfoot, I trotted down to a spindly observation tower where the modern-day forest track swings right. The coffin road continues dead ahead, tunnelling through the conifers.

Hidden amid the trees, there are moss-encrusted walls and the remains of long abandoned enclosures and steadings lost when the forest was planted.

Crossing a track higher up, the coffin road soon emerges from the confines of the established plantation on to more recently felled and replanted ground where views open out across Glen Isla.

While the old route progresses north, descending over moorland to cross the River Isla by a suspension bridge dating from the 1820s, around the same time as the kirk was rebuilt in its present form, I branched left at the next junction, a track ascending between ranks of young conifers to a mast perched atop Druim Dearg.

The summit cairn sits on the other side of a high fence, but I managed to duck through this and, from this heathery vantage point, I was treated to a magnificently mountainous vista.

A track laid to service the mast dips west to a locked gate and, after clambering over this metal barrier, I follow the fence down to another gate before crossing the moor to meet the road home.


1. Cross road and walk 600m north along track leading to Scruschloch.

2. Branch left at Scotways arrow marker and ascend grassy path north-west through break in trees to summit of Broom Hill then descend to broken gate in old fence.

3. Continue ahead (north), descending heathery, often marshy, path through break in trees to junction below scaffold tower.

4. Ignore track branching right and continue ahead, ascending path through trees to meet track.

5. Cross track and continue ahead, ascending to edge of established plantation

6. Progress ahead to next junction, turn left and ascend track through more recent planting to mast on top of Druim Dearg.

7. Descend track west to exit plantation at gate. Go left along fence line, descending to another gate.

8. Bear right and follow rough track over moor to road.

9. Turn left and follow road back to start.


Distance: 6.4km/4 miles

Ascent: 170m/560ft

Time: 2-3 hours

Grading: A moderate upland hike over low hills, the route follows sheltered tracks and paths through forestry, generally well-graded ascents rising to a viewpoint summit, before returning along a minor road

Start/finish: Layby 1km north of Little Kilry on the single-track Kilry to Brewlands Bridge road, Angus (Grid ref: NO 222561)

Map: Ordnance Survey 1:50,000 Landranger sheets 53; Ordnance Survey 1:25,000 Explorer sheet 381

Tourist Information: Dundee iCentre, 16 City Square, Dundee DD1 3BG (Tel 01382 527527)

Public transport: None