Strathmiglo lies in the angle created by the A91 and A912, which brush past its north west and north east sides without really giving passing traffic much of sense of what the village is like.
Strathmiglo's focus is it's town hall, sitting on the north side of the High Street: or, more especially, the town hall spire. This dates back to a decision by the Town Council in 1727 that what Strathmiglo really needed was a tolbooth, with a clock and a bell, plus a steeple to house them in. The imposing tower that resulted was built in 1734.
As such towers go, this is an especially attractive one. It tapers steadily over its height, giving the optical illusion that it is considerably taller than it actually is. And it is topped off with a nice convex spire. In its base the tower originally contained a cell, while stairs up the side give access to the tower at first floor level.
Here it is decorated by a coat of arms, beneath which is a slight oddity. What from a distance looks like a stone imitation of a lamp, angled off to one side, is actually a sundial. Some say that the basis for the sundial was the top of the burgh's original mercat cross, and looking at it, this certainly seems possible.
The town hall spire originally stood alone, only having a town hall added behind it in the 1800s. The rest of the High Street has a sense of austerity, though there are some fine buildings here, including the old Royal Hotel, plus the odd house that wouldn't look too far out of place in Edinburgh's New Town. The wealth that lay behind this development came primarily from the processing of linen during the 1700s.
Near the east end of High Street, Kirk Wynd leads down to the Parish Church. This was built by George Kilgour in 1784. It has been done few favours by the rather brutal porch added in 1925, nor by the rough car park now located immediately to its south. But if you view the church from the graveyard to its east, you begin to get a sense of what the builder had in mind.
Strathmiglo, or at least the tiny hamlet of Gateside, a mile or two to the west, has one more claim to fame. Many people believe that the Julius Agricola's decisive defeat of the Caledonians in AD84 at the Battle of Mons Graupius was in Aberdeenshire or Moray. But there are those who suggest that the topography at Gateside, with the land rising to the summit of West Lomond to the south, matches exactly a description of the battle written by Tacitus. The theory finds some support in the discovery of many skulls in a nearby grave, but the debate will doubtless continue.
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