Angus is an area that deserves to be better known and more frequently visited. There's a lot to see and do on this tour, including some fine coastal scenery and one of the best beaches in Scotland at Lunan Bay; a wealth of spectacular Pictish carved stones; and one of Scotland's best castles, Glamis Castle. Add in an abbey, a priory and a grand country house, not to mention an air museum, and there really is just about something for everyone.
The main route shown in dark blue on the map is 66 miles long, starting and finishing in Arbroath and is described as being tacked anti-clockwise. In practice you could take just about any point on the tour as your start, and it doesn't really matter which direction you travel in.
One excursion is suggested, along minor roads north of Arbroath to Auchmithie. If you avoid getting lost on the network of minor roads in the area, this adds about four miles to the total distance for the tour.
The suggested starting point for the tour is Arbroath, about fifteen miles north east of Dundee. The town is home to the historically important Arbroath Abbey, the Signal Tower Museum, and the superb St Vigeans Museum of Carved Stones, though to some its name is best known for the Arbroath Smokie, a smoked haddock still produced in smokehouses around the old harbour. The smokie actually originated in the small fishing village of Auchmithie, a few miles up the coast from Arbroath, and this is one reason for the suggested excursion to see it.
Whether you take the excursion or not, your aim is to find yourself on the minor road which approaches the broad expanse of Lunan Bay from its southern end. A detailed road map could well come in handy. Lunan Bay comes complete with its own ruined castle, Red Castle, and is one of the handful of very best beaches in Scotland. There is a parking area just behind the dunes from which you can access the beach itself. North of Lunan Bay it is worth trying to find Boddin Point with its ruined limekilns and old harbour.
Montrose is an attractive mix of active port, market town and seaside resort. The town sits intriguingly between the North Sea to its east and the Montrose Basin to the west. It offers a wide range of tourist services. At the north end of Montrose is the site of Britain's first operational military airfield, established by the Royal Flying Corps in 1913, and reopened in WWII. Part of it is now home to the Montrose Air Station Heritage Centre.
Head inland from Montrose along the A935 and you pass the House of Dun, a superb country house in the care of the National Trust for Scotland. This road then leads you to the ancient cathedral town Brechin, complete with Brechin Cathedral. In 970 Brechin, though technically a "town" was described as a "city", which is why the football club founded here in 1906 is named Brechin City.
That detailed map referred to earlier might come in handy as you leave Brechin heading south west on the B9134. At Aberlemno, half way between Forfar and Brechin, are the Aberlemno Stones, three Pictish stones alongside the main road. Another magnificent Pictish Stone can be found in the kirkyard of Aberlemno Kirk. Note that these stones are covered in packing to avoid weathering during the winter. From Aberlemno you follow a minor road south to pick up the line of the B9113, which you follow west, towards Forfar. A mile and a half east of Forfar. are the remains of Restenneth Priory, originally founded here by King Nechtan of the Picts.
From Forfar you follow the A926 across the main A90 to Kirriemuir. Located at the head of two glens Kirriemuir is a pretty town. Its narrow winding streets have an olde worlde charm. It is famous as the birthplace of J.M. Barrie, creator of Peter Pan: and a commemorative statue is located in the town square, while his birthplace is open as a visitor attraction. A nearby hilltop is home to the Kirriemuir Camera Obscura.
A few miles south of Kirriemuir is the extremely attractive village of Glamis, in many ways the highlight of this tour. Standing to its north is Glamis Castle, childhood home of the late Queen Mother and one of the best castles in Scotland. The castle and its the extensive gardens and grounds are open to the public and a visit is very highly recommended. Also in Glamis is St Fergus Kirk and the excellent Angus Folk Museum, while in the village and surrounding area are three unusually fine Pictish symbol stones, St Orland's Stone, Hunters Hill Stone, and the Glamis Manse Symbol Stone. The last of these is in a garden close to St Fergus Kirk, though reaching the first two takes considerably more effort. One stands in woods to the south east of the village, while the other is in almost inaccessible farmland to the north.
From Glamis you return to your starting point in Arbroath by travelling two miles along the A94 towards Forfar, then turning right onto the B9127. This road leads you cross country back to Arbroath, 15 miles away. Again, a detailed road map is highly recommended.
Visitor InformationDistances: The main circular route covers 66 miles, starting and finishing at Arbroath. The suggested excursion to Auchmithie adds a total of 4 miles.
Fuel: There are petrol stations open at least some of the time at a number of places along the route.