Landmark Visitor's Guide







Around Crieff

Loch Earn and Loch Tay




Additional Information

Landmark Visitor's Guide

Around Dundee

Following the coastal route through Monifieth, Barrie Mill, signposted off to the left, is a restored and working flour-mill. Carnoustie, further on, is best known for its Championship golf course, on the itinerary of most serious golfers. With the Open returning in 1999, this magnificent but demanding course is again firmly in favour. There are two other fine courses upon the links, the Burnside and Buddon. A golf driving range can be found in town but ask locals for directions as it is rather out of the way.


There are pleasant walks along the beach here and a leisure centre that offers indoor sports. The A92 coast road north arrives in the fishing and holiday town of Arbroath, a major centre for the county of Angus. Arbroath's most famous landmark is its 12th century abbey founded by William the Lion. It was from here that the famous Declaration of Arbroath was issued in 1320 asserting Robert the Bruce as King of Scotland. This event crowned the bitter struggle for independence from England, began by William Wallace in the late 1200's, gave a brief respite but did not end it.

In later years, Reformation, once again, brought vandalism and neglect to the Abbey of Arbroath. Stones were taken to construct many of the older buildings that you see in Arbroath today, although interesting portions survive such as the south transept and massively proportioned front entrance. There is a small museum occupying the Abbot's House.

Arbroath, as a fishing centre, became renowned for its sail-canvas and even more famous for Smokies or smoked haddock, found in nearly forty fishmongers or curing houses around the front where the process of smoking can still be observed. The hot cure method, a traditional technique using kilns or 'smoke barrels' results in a cooked, smoked fish that can be eaten hot or cold.

For fish of the battered variety, queues regularly form along the sandstone tenement walls at the front in anticipation of a fish supper from Peppo's, one of the most popular fish and chip shops in Scotland. The harbour is a focus of activity in Arbroath even if it is just to sit and eat a steaming 'poke' of fish and chips.

Along the West Links Promenade you will find the inspiration for many childhood memories of a holiday in Arbroath, the miniature railway. Everything is to scale, tiny sheds, miniature signals and dwarf bridges. Kerr's Miniature Railway has been running for over half a century and has not changed much in that time. Next to the diminutive train station is the terminus for the miniature bus or fire engine.

Next to the harbour is the Signal Tower, now a museum and art gallery with display on fishing, the flax industry and natural history. The building was a former signalling station for the Bell Rock or Inchcape Lighthouse which, on a clear day, can be seen 12 miles (19km) out in the mouth of the Tay.

It is possible to walk along the tops of the Arbroath Cliffs, known as Seaton Cliffs, to the little fishing cove of Auchmithie. These cocoa-coloured precipices are older than 350 million years and many sea-birds can be seen especially fulmar, gannet and the occasional puffin, fishing off-shore. The cliffs are unfenced and can be dangerous if you stray off the path. It is a 6 mile (10km) walk there and back and the path becomes rather confused on reaching the wooded glade near Auchmithie where you can find yourself wading through cornfields.

Auchmithie is equally accessible by road and said to be the first home of the Smokie. It is perched on a rugged headland above a wide, pebble beach and ancient harbour. The 'But and Ben' restaurant serves some of the tastiest local dishes such as a smoked haddock pancake done in a cream sauce or, for a really traditional dish, try their 'tatties, mince and skirly'.

Coming out of Arbroath, there is a turning left, off the A92, through a modern housing estate and down to a fascinating little hamlet called St Vigeans. St Vigeans is quite unlike the other farming villages in these parts, especially in its architecture. Its centre-piece is a small, red sandstone church perched on a steep knoll, the site dating from the twelfth century or earlier.

There is a distinctive row of cottages surrounding the knoll and one has been converted into a miniature museum. Here, the remains of a large collection of Pictish standing stones are housed. Many of the original stones were incorporated as building materials for the church and surrounding cottages and others are sadly mutilated. The Drosten Stone is the most notable, a carved cross-slab of the ninth century with animals, birds and a hooded archer carved in relief.

Back on the coast, the fine, wide sands of Lunan Bay make an ideal escape. Watching over the sands is Redcastle, a lonely, ruined fortification of the twelfth century, first built by King William the Lion as a royal hunting seat to protect the coast from marauding Danish pirates. It can be explored by climbing the steep path from the beach or there is easier access from the minor coastal road behind the castle.


The mouth of River South Esk at Montrose is one of the most important sites in Britain for wintering wildfowl. Each winter sees over 12,000 pinkfeet and 2,000 greylag geese roosting in the basin after spending the day feeding on nearby farm-land. There are several hides around the basin. From the car park at Mains of Dun, off the A935, follow a track to two hides or from the car park at the north-east corner on A935 there is a hide 500 yards to the south. A warden naturalist may be available.

The town of Montrose is a curious combination of the maritime and rustic. The oil industry of the last 25 years has brought benefits while the rich surrounding farm-land has always been a reason for the burgh's wealth. There is a large medieval market square in the middle of the main street. The seafront is a major attraction with a wide beach and coastal links providing space and plenty fresh air for recreation or relaxation. There are football fields, play parks and two 18-hole golf courses. Tennis is available on courts in the town and there is a nearby public swimming pool and fitness centre.

Three miles (5km) west of Montrose on the A936 is the House of Dun, one of the most original houses designed by William Adam. A rather severe, Palladian house surrounded by a beautiful garden and out-buildings, the house is now run by National Trust for Scotland who have done an admirable job in restoring it from a fairly dilapidated state. The exhilarating eighteenth-century plaster-work found in the Saloon is a particular tribute to the restorer's talent as well as that of the original craftsmen.


Brechin is an important town in this strongly agricultural interior region of Angus. The surrounding Vale of Strathmore is one of Scotland's most productive farming belts.

Visitors come to see the cathedral and tower situated on the banks above the South Esk along Chanonry Wynd. The tower, dating from AD990 is one of only two such round towers in Scotland, the other being at Abernethy in Perthshire. Supposedly, these towers were constructed to offer protection during Viking raids.

The library in St Ninian's Square is also the local museum with information on the cathedral and tower as well as details of industry and archaeology around the area. On the outskirts of town is the Brechin Castle Centre with a garden centre, farm trail, countryside park and children's play area.

It is interesting to observe the countryside as you cut across the Vale of Strathmore, north towards Edzell. This is prime farming country but it changes as it edges towards the higher ground around Glen Esk. Fishing is popular on the River North Esk with a variety of trout and salmon beats.


The village of Edzell commences with the triumphal Dalhousie Arch commemorating Queen Victoria's visit. Edzell Castle is found along a country road at the north-west end of the village turning left opposite the Panmure Arms Hotel. The castle is an imposing sixteenth-century ruin. The most impressive remaining feature is the walled garden or pleasance where visitors often linger with a sketch pad or paints to capture the grandeur of the garden and castle ruins from this sheltered spot.

The road through Glen Esk, following the River North Esk, is a beautiful drive through gentle hill-country always changing in its nature as you progress up the glen. The Glen Esk Folk museum, about 12 miles (19km) from Edzell, is a commemoration of life over the past 200 years in the glen and most of the items on display came from local cottages. If they are not too busy, try and get a conversation going with the women running the centre, as they are mostly local and have many tales to tell about the micro-culture preserved in this secluded glen.


Returning south on the busy A90 dual-carraigeway, the market town of Forfar was once established as a jute and flax milling centre, making use of its close proximity to Dundee and the River Tay. Its industry is now more reliant on the production of man-made fabrics as well as firms that serve the agricultural community.

The Forfar Bridie, a flat meat pie with or without onions, has a far-reaching reputation particularly with expatriots. More alarming is the Forfar Bridle, a vicious device used to restrain so called witches as they were burned at the stake. This is on display in Forfar's museum found in the Meffan Institute on West High Street.

The inland Forfar Golf Club, on the A932 east of town, has peculiar swells similar to a links course attributed to flax being stacked in rows to dry. Six miles (10km) north-east of Forfar on the B9134 are the Aberlemno Sculptured Stones. The first of these Pictish story books in stone is found in the churchyard behind the village and there are three more further up the hill at the side of the road.


Kirriemuir, only 7 miles (12km) from Forfar on the A926 is typical of Angus towns, little changed over the past century with clusters of deep, red sandstone buildings and a mix of agricultural and textile industries that came to this part of Angus in the eighteenth century.

It is most famous as the birthplace of J.M. Barrie, a local handloom-weaver's son and creator of Peter Pan. Barrie's birthplace is an unassuming little cottage at No.9 Brechin Road and a Peter Pan statue overlooks the town's square. Despite being offered a resting-place at Westminster Abbey in London, Barrie chose to be buried in Hill Cemetery off the Brechin Road, the B957.

Kirriemuir has a delightful golf course designed by James Braid. The nearby Woodville Bar offers a tasty and inexpensive lunchtime menu.

The Angus Glens

Kirrie' is the gateway to the Angus Glens, a rugged expanse on the southernmost edge of the Grampian Mountains. They offer easy hikes up to Loch Brandy or, at just over 3,000ft (915m) the Mayar, an elevation that allows some wonderful views to the west. These are reasonable day-hikes with access to more strenuous tasks such as Jock's Road.

The single-track road from Clova Hotel to the parking area at the foot of Glen Doll is, quite comically prone to traffic jams in the summer months when, for instance, a tour bus meets a tractor. The Clova Hotel is worth visiting, especially for the ambience in the hiker's bar, usually full of happy ramblers or those that only made it as far as this cosy little pub. The hotel stages special events such as folk nights or pig roasts throughout the season.

Fly, bait or spin fishing for sea trout or salmon on a 3 Mile (5km) stretch of the River South Esk is also available through the hotel. There is a Youth Hostel at Glen Doll, a converted hunting-lodge that is popular with walkers.

Glen Prosen is perhaps less popular than its neighbour but, for walkers that enjoy the peace of the hillsides to themselves, this airy valley may be preferred. From both of these glens, all routes lead back into Kirrie.

West of town is the road to Glen Isla passing via the RSPB's Kinnordy Loch with three well-positioned hides and Lintrathen Loch, popular for fishing. This is a pleasant drive through Glen Isla that can lead on to the A93 to Braemar. A restaurant to seek out is the Lochside Lodge at Bridgend of Lintrathen which offers a good restaurant and decent bar meals, telephone 01575 560340.


Due south from Kirriemuir, Glamis Castle is the childhood home of the Queen Mother and her family, the Bowes-Lyons, Earls of Strathmore and Kinghorne. Along with a resident ghost, reputedly that of Lady Janet Douglas who was burnt at the stake for witchcraft, this striking citadel has hosted many royal visitors throughout its history. The core of the castle was established in the fifteenth century with most of what you see today built in the seventeenth century.

Tours through the castle's rooms are permitted. The works of art reflect earlier periods of life at court with glimpses into the more casual lifestyle of today's royalty.

Glamis is also the setting for the murder of Duncan in Shakespeare's 'Macbeth'. In July of each year, the Scottish Transport Extravaganza is held here and vintage vehicles from around the world turn up in their antiquated splendour. There is a good restaurant and plenty of space in the grounds to stroll and relax.

In the village of Glamis is the Angus Folk Museum, a terraced row of agricultural workers cottages restored in 1957 and containing the fascinating bric-a-brac of country life. From Glamis you cross into the eastern edge of Perthshire, dominated by Vale of Strathmore and lands long associated with Glamis Castle.

Blairgowrie and Alyth

Alyth is a pleasant little Perthshire town lying at the foot of the Braes o' Angus. Passing under the old Roman Bridge, the Alyth Burn runs through the town centre and the park beyond. The tiny Alyth Folk Museum overlooking the burn, houses a collection of agricultural and domestic artefacts.

Above the town on Barry Hill there is an Iron Age fort, part of a series of hilltop forts throughout Fife and Angus. Legend has it that Queen Guinevere was imprisoned here. There is a steep-sided, wooded valley further up the Alyth Burn called Den of Alyth. This gorge was carved out during the Ice Age and can be wet underfoot. Alyth now sports three excellent 18-hole golf courses and one 9-hole.

Blairgowrie lies at the heart of raspberry growing country and is also a main accommodation and facilities centre for the Glen Shee Ski Resort 24 miles (39km) to the north. Its fame as a soft fruit producer started in 1898 when a local resident decided to grow wild raspberries as a commercial crop. Today, with its favourable soil and climate, it is the major raspberry-growing district in the British Isles. The town has a relaxed air with a selection of woollen mill outlets and pleasant cafes or ice cream shops. The tourist information outlet overlooks the main square.

Keithbank Mill and Heraldry Centre is located on the Braemar Road, the A93, just north of town. There is an engine house and water-wheel still in working order. A coffee shop is located in the mill's lower section serving Blairgowrie Cream Teas.

A footbridge leads over the River Ericht to explore Cargill's Leap as well as interesting short woodland walks leading back into town or up to the Knocky, a rise overlooking the town. Well Meadow in the heart of town is a nice place to sit and watch the world go by.

Following the signs from Blairgowrie to Braemar using the twisting and undulating A93, you find Bridge of Cally where the River Ardle and Black Water converge. This is a good spot for hill-walkers and climbers who set out from the car park. An alternative route, if you are heading back to the Pitlochry area, is along the B950 to Kirkmichael, popular for day trips or holidays. The Spittal of Glenshee has eating facilities, a hotel and woollen shop. 'Spittal' was a general term for a hospice or shelter for travellers particularly on higher ground.

Glen Shee is one of the most popular ski resorts in Scotland. Perhaps not as developed as its European counterparts, it still attracts thousands of skiers throughout the winter depending on the weather. The Cairnwell Chairlift at the Pass of Glenshee is open throughout the summer offering easy access to the fabulous views across the Grampian and Cairngorm Mountains.

Around Coupar Angus

To the south of Blairgowrie, Coupar Angus at the western end of the Vale of Strathmore, is a rather bland little market town. There was once a flourishing Cistercian abbey here beside the present Dundee Road but only the gatehouse remains almost merged into the surrounding foliage. The abbey was built by Malcolm IV around 1164 and was destroyed in 1559. The site of the old monk's chapel is now covered by the parish church but you can still see the remains of the original piers from the nave. The Jail Tower, built in 1762, quite nearby the abbey ruins on the A923, is currently being renovated.

Five miles (8km) to the north-east of Coupar Angus is Meigle, another major Pictish centre. Its old school house has been converted into a museum that houses thirty Pictish carved stones and four fragments dating back to the seventh century. The carving on the stones is intricate with one showing Daniel in the Lion's den. Others show swimming elephants, mirrors and combs.

The largest stone, according to an American professor and leading Arthurian scholar, may be the burial stone of Queen Guinevere, King Arthur's wife. In Meigle's ancient kirkyard nearby, there lies a large burial mound known as Vanora's tomb where an immense stone is supposed to have marked Guinevere's grave.

Passing through Coupar Angus again, the Dunsinane Hill Vitrified Fort is found just off the A94 Coupar Angus-Perth road and reached by a steep path. It is a good example of the many such hilltop forts found throughout Perthshire.

Thursday, December 26th, 2019

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