Immediately north of Dundee, the low-lying Sidlaw Hills divide the city from the rich agricultural region of Strathmore, whose string of tidy market towns lies on a fertile strip along the southernmost edge of the heather-covered lower slopes of the Grampian Mountains. These towns act as gateways to the Angus glens, a series of tranquil valleys penetrated by singletrack roads and offering some of the most rugged and majestic landscapes in northeast Scotland. It’s a rain-swept, wind-blown, sparsely populated area, whose roads become impassable with the first snows, sometimes as early as October, and where the summers see clouds of ferocious midges. The most useful road through the glens is the A93, which cuts through Glen Shee, linking Blairgowrie to Braemar on Deeside. It’s pretty dramatic stuff, threading its way over Britain’s highest main road, the Cairnwell Pass (2199ft).
The tiny settlement of MEIGLE is home to Scotland’s most important collection of early Christian and Pictish inscribed stones. The exact meaning and purpose of the stones and their enigmatic symbols is obscure, as is the reason why so many of them were found here. The most likely theory is that Meigle was once an important ecclesiastical centre that attracted secular burials of prominent Picts. Housed in a modest former schoolhouse, the Meigle Museum displays some thirty pieces dating from the seventh to the tenth centuries, all found in and around the nearby churchyard. The majority are either gravestones that would have lain flat, or cross slabs inscribed with the sign of the cross, usually standing. Most impressive is the 7ft-tall great cross slab, said to be the gravestone of Guinevere, wife of King Arthur.