The predominantly agricultural county of Angus, east of the A9 and north of the Firth of Tay, holds some of the northeast’s greatest scenery and is relatively free of tourists, who tend to head further west for the Highlands proper. The coast from Montrose to Arbroath is especially inviting, with scarlet cliffs and sweeping bays. Dundee, although not the most obvious tourist destination, has in recent years become a rather dynamic and progressive city, and makes for a less snooty alternative to Aberdeen.
In the north of the county, the long fingers of the Angus glens – heather-covered hills tumbling down to rushing rivers – are overlooked by the southern peaks of the Grampian Mountains. Handsome if uneventful market towns such as Brechin, Kirriemuir and Blairgowrie are good bases, extravagant Glamis Castle is well worth a visit, and Angus is liberally dotted with Pictish remains.Read More
The decline of manufacturing wasn’t kind to DUNDEE, but regeneration is very much the buzzword today. The city’s heyday was in the 1800s, when its train and harbour links made it a major centre for shipbuilding, whaling and the manufacture of jute, the world’s most important vegetable fibre after cotton. However, this, along with jam and journalism – the three Js which famously defined the city – has all but disappeared. Only local publishing giant D.C. Thomson, publisher of the ever-popular Beano and Dandy, among other publications, still play a meaningful role in the city.
The Cultural Quarter
Immediately west of the city centre, High Street becomes Nethergate and passes into what has been dubbed, with some justification, Dundee’s “Cultural Quarter”. As well as the university and the highly respected Rep Theatre, the area is also home to the best concentration of pubs and cafés in the city.
The hip and exciting DCA, or Dundee Contemporary Arts, is a stunningly designed five-floor complex which incorporates galleries, a print studio, a classy design shop and an airy café-bar. The centre, opened in 1999, was designed by Richard Murphy, who converted an old brick garage and car showroom into an inspiring new space, given energy and confidence by its bright, sleek interior and distinctive ship-like exterior. It’s worth visiting for the stimulating temporary and touring exhibitions of contemporary art, as well as an eclectic programme of art-house films and cult classics.
The Angus coast
The Angus coast
Two roads link Dundee to Aberdeen and the northeast coast of Scotland. By far the more pleasant option is the slightly longer A92 coast road, which joins the inland A90 at Stonehaven, just south of Aberdeen. Intercity buses follow both roads, while the coast-hugging train line from Dundee is one of the most picturesque in Scotland, passing attractive beaches and impressive cliffs, and stopping in the old seaports of Arbroath and Montrose.
Since it was settled in the twelfth century, local fishermen have been landing their catches at ARBROATH, about fifteen miles northeast of Dundee. The town’s most famous product is the Arbroath smokie – line-caught haddock, smoke-cured over smouldering oak chips and still made here in a number of family-run smokehouses tucked in around the harbour. One of the most approachable and atmospheric is M&M Spink’s tiny whitewashed premises at 10 Marketgate; chef and cookery writer Rick Stein described the fish here, warm from the smoke, as “a world-class delicacy”.
- The Angus Glens and around