For many people, Scotland is above all the home of golf. And if you ask golfers for a list of their top half-dozen courses in Scotland, then it's likely that Carnoustie will feature on most. Carnoustie is found on the coast, ten miles east of Dundee. And unlike St Andrews, the story of Carnoustie really is closely tied to the story of its golf courses.
The Carnoustie Golf Club was founded here in 1842, and with it came the first 18 hole golf course in Carnoustie. This was followed by the Carnoustie Lady's Golf Club in 1873. Ten years later, Simpsons Golf Shop appeared in the town, the precursor of an industry now said to be one of most lucrative in the world. The shops is still here, complete with its wonderfully attractive "golf umbrella" dome; and as you would expect, Carnoustie also offers a number of other golfing shops.
Carnoustie today boasts no fewer than four golf courses, with many more within a short distance of the town. The latest and most spectacular addition to the golfing scene is the large Carnoustie Hotel Golf Resort, a four star hotel complex completed in time for the 1999 Open Championship. This was the first for some time to be held in Carnoustie, and the first for rather longer to be won by a Scotsman: Paul Lawrie. The hotel remains the subject of some controversy as the deal for its construction included the council's allocation to it of half the teeing-off times on the neighbouring golf course for a period of 35 years. This has not pleased other hoteliers in the area.
Carnoustie's fortunes have not always depended solely on golf. In 1857 the large Panmure Works was founded in the town. Within a couple of decades it was employing 600 people producing over 5 million yards of assorted textiles each year. Parts of the works continue in operation today. Another early success, and one that also continues, was Carnoustie's role as a centre for malting barley. Today it supplies customers as far afield as the Glenturret Distillery in Crieff.
Another factor in Carnoustie's success, both for industry and for leisure, and golf in particular, was its easy accessibility by rail. The railway arrived relatively early, in 1838, with a station on the line between Dundee and Aberdeen. Carnoustie today boasts a railway station in the town, as well as another used for spectators coming to major golfing events. It also sees some (very) high speed expresses passing through, a thought to bear in mind if you are thinking of using the passenger overbridge for photography...
Carnoustie's golf courses lie at the town end of the large triangle of Barry Links, which sticks out into the north side of the mouth of the Firth of Tay. Beyond the golf courses is Scotland's largest military training area, Barry Ranges, which have been in use since 1895. North of Barry is Barry Mill, a rare example of a surviving water powered oatmeal mill.