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Dalhousie Arch with Edzell in the Background
Dalhousie Arch with Edzell in the Background

The attractive village of Edzell lies about six miles north of Brechin and the A90 Dundee to Aberdeen dual carriageway. A mile to its west is Edzell Castle, perhaps better known than the village itself.

Edzell Main Street
Edzell Main Street
The Glenesk Hotel
The Glenesk Hotel
Parish Church of Edzell & Lethnot
Parish Church of Edzell & Lethnot
Panmure Arms Hotel
Panmure Arms Hotel

And Edzell Castle is certainly older than the village, which in its current form and name dates back only to 1839. That was the year in which the local laird, the Earl of Panmure, greatly expanded the existing settlement of Slateford. What emerged was Edzell, complete with its broad main street and generous open spaces.

Edzell is a village that has seen much change over its short history. A good example is the way that the village was connected to the railway very late, in 1896. The passenger service had already been lost by 1931, and even the freight line shut in 1966. Edzell must be one of the few settlements to have lost its passenger railway even before it gained its mains electricity, which only arrived in 1936.

Inglis Memorial Hall
Inglis Memorial Hall
Memorial Hall Interior
Memorial Hall Interior
Edzell Castle
Edzell Castle

Land a little to the east of the village was used for an RAF airfield during World War II, and in the 1960s this became a major US Navy base used to track submarines around the world. With the end of the Cold War and the advance of technology this too was eventually overtaken, and the military base at Edzell closed in 1995. This resulted in the loss of nearly 300 local jobs and the departure of 700 military personnel, together with their contribution to the local economy.

Today's Edzell has overcome its past difficulties. Visitors arriving from the south are greeted first by the Dalhousie Arch across the main road. This remarkable structure was erected in 1887 to commemorate the 13th Earl of Dalhousie. And not far beyond it is the equally magnificent Inglis Memorial Hall. This was designed by Owers of Dundee, and built in 1898. The same year saw the building of the Glenesk Hotel, on the opposite side of the main street. Today the memorial hall serves a range of uses, including village library.

Towards the north end of Edzell is the main road junction; if you want to go to the castle, this is where you turn to head west. This is overlooked from the south east by the large Panmure Arms Hotel, and from the north west by the Parish Church of Edzell and Lethnot, set amid surrounding parkland. The church was built here in 1819, after being moved from its previous location near the castle.

The presence of nearby Edzell Castle in its attractively ruinous state led to a tourist industry starting in Edzell even before the railway arrived. The village had also long been a centre for fishing, and in 1895 it acquired an 18 hole golf course. More recent additions include a driving range and a golf academy.

Meantime the main street retains a useful collection of shops and services and a relaxing atmosphere. Coupled with a range of accommodation on offer from B&Bs through to significant hotels, Edzell is an excellent touring base for eastern Scotland.

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