Monday, 14 August 2017

Carnoustie Scotland.

Our second stint of summer holiday child minding took us back to Angus’s Tayside coast and the town of Carnoustie. But this time we spent our seven-night break at the Woodlands Caravan Park an independently run site that turned out to be one of the best laid out campsites we have visited. Although a busy site ‘Bad Bill’, a name which impressed our 5 year old grandson, managed to keep the colourful flower beds well attended and the grass areas very trim, the facilities in good order and deal with the constant flow of visitors seemingly without any problem.

Woodlands Caravan Park.

As we have been to this area before some of the areas we visited were quite familiar which included the Leisure Centre, crazy golf, adventure playground, a wee water park and the cracking skateboard area along Carnoustie shoreline. The skateboard park was particularly popular with boys of all ages who made great use of it with scoters, BMX bikes and of course skateboards, our grandson was no exception who honed his skills greatly.
Crazy Golf.

Adventure Playground.

Water Park.

Skateboard Park. 

The other coastal town that deserved a revisit was Broughty Ferry with its Castle, originally built in 1496 and rebuilt in the 1860’s as part of coastal defence system, and its Museum which houses displays of the life and times of Broughty Ferry, its people, the environment and local wildlife. From its Observation Room on the top level you get some very good views including across the Tay to the Kingdom of Fife.  The harbour is well worth a look and the adventure play area is a magnet for grandchildren. This time the weather was good enough to sit on the towns sandy beach and for an excited young boy to splash in the sea.
Adventure Playground opposite the castle.

The Castle.

The Castles Defences.

A grand day for a slash in the sea.

The bus service is excellent and you can travel right along the coastal towns from Dundee to Arbroath and every wee town in between. Arbroath was somewhere we had not visited previously so it was decided to visit the Arbroath Sports Centre on the outskirts of the town. It comprises a six-lane swimming pool with a walk in toddler area that has a small slide; some floats and balls for children to play with. It was a lot less hectic than the pool we visited in Dundee and I would certainly recommend it for all the family use.

The Jacobite supporting town of Arbroath was originally a grand fishing port that at its height had 154 fishing boats and also supported 34 spinning mills and factories as well as tanning, shipbuilding and chemical industries. The harbour still has its share of fishing boats but is mainly used as a shelter for leisure craft.  Its High Street is not very attractive due mainly to it abundance of charity shops but there are many other reasons for visiting the town including tasting the delightful ‘Arbroath Smokies’ a term that can only be used legally to describe haddock smoked in the traditional manner within 8km radius of Arbroath. After a ‘smokie’ lunch at The Old Brewhouse Restaurant a walk around the harbour and trying our luck at crab fishing we visited the Signal Tower Museum.
The Harbour still used for fishing.

Leisure Boat Moorings.

Boat Repairs.

A grand place to try out the Smokies.
The Museum is located in a complex of buildings that were originally used as the shore station and family accommodation for the Bell Rock Lighthouse, which stands 11 miles offshore from Arbroath. Built in 1813, the Signal Tower served the lighthouse until it was decommissioned in 1955 and in 1974 became a museum dedicated to Arbroath’s maritime heritage and the Bell Rock Lighthouse built by Robert Stevenson between 1807 and 1811. The museum shows a very interesting movie that demonstrates the enormity of the work and the local loss of life that went into the building of the Bell Rocks lifesaving structure.

The Signal Tower Museum.

Bell Rock Lighthouse.

The town’s most notable building, and one it owes its history to, is its Abbey. Completed in 1233 and forever in antiquity as the location of the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath in 1320 that confirmed Scotland's status as an independent sovereign state and defended the country's right to use military action when unjustly attacked. ‘For as long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any condition be brought under English rule. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom’[1] That was until 1707 when Scotland was forced into the Act of Union which brought England and Scotland under one parliament, one sovereign and one flag, some thing its been trying to rescind ever since.  

Arbroath Abbey.

The Abbot's House.

Inside one of the buildings.

Historic Scotland’s official souvenir guide will inform you that time and weather have not been kind to Arbroath Abbey, which at one time was one of the finest monasteries of medieval Scotland. Although its main downfall was the Scottish Reformation of 1560 after which it began to fall into disrepair with its stones being removed for use in other buildings. But we were quite surprised how much of the buildings were still left intact, you could actually go inside some of the buildings, its then that you realise how splendid this religious complex must have been.

After leaving the Abbey we had another go at crab fishing down at the harbour - this time with more luck. Then a bus back to Woodlands Caravan Park and start getting ready for our journey home the following morning.

Intrepid Fishermen.

The catch.

We didn't need the Lobster pots after all!

[1] Declaration of Arbroath 1320

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