Stonehaven To Arbroath By Dunnottar And Montrose

Angus Coast And Glens

ROUTE LENGTH: 40 MILES

By Road

Leave Stonehaven by A957 and then south along the A92. At Mill of Uras, take the right turn and then the left, onto Catterline Bay. From there, continue along the road to Kinneff, then onto the junction with the A92. Turn left, then right, to go to Arbuthnott.

After Arbuthnott, return to the A92, on which you will pass through Inverbervie and pass Johnshaven and then encounter St Cyrus. Follow the A92 onto Montrose, and cross the bridge over the estuary to Ferryden, and then follow the A92 to Arbroath. Entering the town, turn right ontoTarry Road which leads o the St Vigean’s Carpark and footpath to the museum. You can then followeither the A92 (now Montrose Road) or Brechin Road into Arbroath itself.

By Cycle or foot

The cyclepath is the same as the road path – leave Stonehaven by the A957 and A92. Take the right turn, then the left, to go to Catterline Bay. After visiting there, continue along the road to Kinneff. After there, continue onto the A92 – and turn right to Arbuthnott. Afterwards, return to the road and go to Inverbervie. Subsequently, continue to St Cyrus.

Afterwards, ride south to Montrose. Then cross the bridge over the estuary to Ferryden, and then follow the A92 to Arbroath. Entering the town, turn right onto Tarry Road which leads o the St Vigean’s Carpark and footpath to themuseum. You can then follow either the A92 (now Montrose Road) or Brechin Road into Arbroath itself.

This route has many points where you ascend. Be prepared.

By Public Transport

Much public transport along this coast. You can take the 107 from Barcley Street, or the Stagecoach X7 from David Street, getting off at the junction near Catterline Bay (ask your bus driver for advice). These buses also go to Kinneff. The 107 stops at Inverbervie, from which you can take the 102 to Arbuthnott. The X7 and 107 both go to St Cyrus and Montrose also. The X7 goes to Arbroath. From Stonehaven, via Montrose, you can also take a train to Arbroath (about 14 minutes).

To check times go to Traveline Scotland and click on Plan your Journey on left side of page.

Stonehaven grew through a combination of harbours, the original settlement being inland at Fetteresso. But it is a traditional town known for its New Year fire ceremony, when blazing fire balls are swung through the streets. South of the town on the wild coast of the Mounth is the spectacular castle of Dunnottar, succeeding a Pictish fortress on the same cliff top location. Many sieges and battles have taken place at this vital pinch point between north and south, though the siege of royalists here by roundheads in the seventeenth century attracts notice because of the way Scotland’s crown and sceptre were smuggled out by the heavily pregnant wife of the minister of nearby Kinneff Kirk. They were hidden for a time under the pulpit there until Charles II was safely restored. Before reaching Kinneff we turn down into Catterline Bay, which has been immortalised in the paintings of Joan Eardley- ‘the houses are sledging/ down the hill/ in the blind gaze/ of a pandrop moon’, as Gerda Stevenson decribes it, ‘all lights out/except for one/its tilted frame/ a well of yellow light/ beacon for travellers’.

After Kinneff comes Inverbervie with its fishing village of Gourdon, but the older Mearns is found more complete a little inland at Arbuthnott. Both Castle and Kirk here are venerable, the latter originally dedicated to Ternan. Also worth a visit is the Lewis Grassic Gibbon Heritage Centre, as no-one has ever written so evocatively of his home turf. Coming back to the costal road we pass Johnshaven to reach St Cyrus. The chuch here has drifted inland due to pressures of the sea, with the fine traditional church above the village, while the original site at Ecclesgreig beneath the cliff by the rivermouth retains its atmospheric location and remains.>

St Cyrus is a short leg from Montrose which is a classical town with a rich history and cultural heritage. There is much fine architecture here, and prosperous Montrose played a notable part in the Scottish Reformation through the scholarly and earnest local laird, Erskine of Dun. Again Montrose was to the fore in the twentieth century Scottish literary renaissance with Violet Jacob, Hugh MacDiarmid, Willa and Edwin Muir, Fionn MacColla, and George Elder Davie the philosopher, all living here at some point. The Parish Church is on its original site, dedicated in medieval times to St John the Baptist. There was a Celtic monastery on Rossie Island west of the main town in the mouth of the South Esk, also known as Inchbrayock. Two fine cross slabs from this site can be seen in the excellent Montrose Museum.>

The coast road runs on through pleasant country to Arbroath, but just before entering the town turn right to the older site of St Vigeans. Here the Celtic church of St Fechin was founded on an existing sacred mound, and the location is rich in early carvings, now housed in the cottage museum below the church. Local legend has Arthur’s adulterous wife Vanora, aka Guinevere, being executed here, which points up the close connections between the Picts and British Celtic culture. One of the stones in the museum bears the name Drosten which is cognate with Tristan. Fechin is supposedly buried in nearby Grange of Conon.>

Arbroath proper is grouped around its harbour and its abbey, which was founded by King William the Lion in honour of the martyred Thamas Becket and as the place for his own royal burial. Scots kings it was implied don’t murder archbishops. The Abbey ruins, now complemented by a sensitively designed vistor centre, are impressive, and the latter day churches crowd round the Abbey site. Arbroath is a bright, beachy place with bracing seaside walks. Hospitalfield House, originally the Abbey hospital, on the south side of town, is a mecca of the visual arts, created by the last eccentric laird of Hospitalfield, Patrick Allan-Fraser. The coast road continues pleasingly by Carnoustie, Monifieith and Broughty Ferry, back to Dundee and the shining Tay.>

The heavens declare the glory of God;
And the firmament shows forth his making.
Day unto day utters speech;
And night unto night shows knowledge.
There is no speech or language;
And their voice is not heard.
But their sound has gone out through all the earth;
And their words to the end of the world.
In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun
Who comes out like a bridegroom,
A champion who delights to run the race.
It rises at one end of heaven
And runs a circuit to the other
And nothing is hidden from its warmth.
(from Psalm 19)

Pilgrim Journeys

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