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21 February 2009, 20:29
Located 15 miles south of Aberdeen, Stonehaven was built in the 19th century to the designs of Quaker philanthropist Robert Barclay. The historical fishing village gave the world Robert Thomson, inventor of the pneumatic tyre, fountain pen, and travelling crane.
One mile to the south, we find 14th century Dunottar Castle. Set 160 feet above sea level on three-and-a-half acres of rock, it was garrisoned by the English in 1296. When William Wallace stormed in to take it back, legend tells of a massacre in which Wallace felled every last man in England’s 4,000-strong forces.
The fishing town of Johnshaven was once a remarkably self-sufficient community, with a brewery and a factory manufacturing sails for fishing boats. In darker times during the Napoleonic wars, it was a base for the infamous press gangs - who scoured the coast in search of sailors to force into Royal Navy service. However, the commentary's referral to the present day Royal Marine Base HMS Condor puts it several miles too far north. In fact it is a proud mainstay of Arbroath.
But that violence has faded into the past, with Johnshaven now a favourite destination spot for retirees and holidaymakers looking for somewhere serene and out of the way.
St Cyrus beach is one of most important nature reserves on the east coast of Scotland. Once a modest community boasting only a church, school, and public house amidst a scattering of family homes, St Cyrus has seen a boom of property development in recent years.
Halfway between Aberdeen and Dundee, lies the harbour town of Montrose. Known as the ‘Aristocrat of Angus’, the town has been a trading port since medieval times. Citizens once imported vast quantities of wine from France, and to this day some of the town’s older and bigger homes come complete with wine cellars.
The Montrose basin, which opens out into a huge tidal lagoon just inland from the town beyond the bridges, is scarcely mentioned although it is an important wildlife reserve. The old road bridge in the pictures has now been replaced.
The "huge lump of coastal sandstone" is misidentified in the film. It is in fact a promontory called Whale Riggen. There is a Deil's Heid in the area; it is a sandstone rock stack nearer Arbroath.
William the Lion founded Arbroath Abbey in 1178 and it was there, in 1320, that Bernard de Linton authored the country’s greatest history-making document. The Declaration of Arbroath was Scotland’s assertion of independence from the English crown. And that strand of Scottish history led to April 1951, when a plucky coterie of student nationalists stole the Stone of Destiny from Westminster Abbey and left it to be found at Arbroath Abbey.
Scotland’s fourth city Dundee was once the jute-producing capital of the world. The city’s docks date back to the 19th century and were key to the whaling industry which saw Dundee trade with Scandinavia and the Baltic countries. Much of the harbour area was swept away in preparation for the Tay Road Bridge. Since February 2008, motorists have enjoyed the use of the bridge free from tolls. But the harbour still boasts Captain Scott’s ship, Discovery, on which he sailed on his ill-starred expedition to the Antarctic.
The arches of Perth Bridge date back to 1772 and the town’s St John’s Kirk is home to 36 bells; one of them, the Ave Maria, was founded in the early 14th century.
St Andrews, often considered the religious heart of Scotland, is where St Regulus is said to have brought relics of the apostle Andrew to Scotland. The University of Saint Andrews dates back to 1411 when Bishop Wardlaw set up a college based on the higher learning institutes of France.
The beach to the north of the town was the location for the opening shots of Chariots of Fire, the Oscar winnign film about the 1924 Olympics. But the town is most for the golf links which back onto that beach. The Royal and Ancient Golf Club was founded in 1754, the most prestigious golf club in the world.
We conclude with Fifeness, home to the lighthouse and coastguard station, and the farthest edge of the Kingdom of Fife.
Last updated: 05 May 2010, 11:29