The long straight approach drive to Glamis Castle
Other Stuff
The Angus Folk Museum occupies a number of 18th century buildings, including a charming row of cottages, in the centre of Glamis village, and is run by the National Trust for Scotland. It has displays on rural social history and how folk lived their lives in the past, and includes spinning wheels, big washing tubs, and a farming element with implements and such like. There's also a 19th century 'Glenisla' hearse. When I was there a wee woman was dressed in period costume. Most certainly worth a look.
Glamis Castle is wonderful, and in so many ways. For one, it was where the Queen Mother (Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon), that most beautiful and charming lady, spent many happy times. Visually, the castle is an architectural feast, and one cannot fail to gaze at its pointy towers in a state of some agogness. It is also said to be Scotland's most haunted castle, and there are rumours of a monster locked throughout its life in a secret room. Like so many castles, Glamis has always been at the very core of Scotland's history. James Edward Stuart, the Old Pretender, spent a night here after the Battle of Sheriffmuir, and you can still see the very four-poster bed on which he lay his head. You can also see the leather buff jacket worn by Bonnie Dundee, or John Graham of Claverhouse. A walk in the castle gardens may well turn out to be one of the most peaceful and calming things you will ever do. [NOTE - There is a small bus that occasionally takes visitors down the one mile approach to the castle, but the service is infrequent, and I recommend approaching on foot down that long straight driveway.]
There's a big tourist sign in The Square pointing towards 'St FERGUS WELL', 'ST FERGUS KIRK', and a 'STANDING STONE'. All three are close together, past the Angus Folk Museum. The standing stone is beautifully carved and known as 'King Malcolm's gravestone'. It is located in the garden of what was once Glamis Manse, right beside the church, but because of a large hedge you can't actually see it. You can perhaps get a glimpse of it over the gate by the church, but it's a bit of a shame that access is not allowed. With it being someone's garden, I can understand that, but I feel that the hedge beside the stone should be reduced in height so as to allow passer-by a closer peep at those wonderful carvings.
The church itself was locked when I was there, and all you could do was wander around the graveyard dodging old falling stones. Although now known as Glamis Kirk, an older church on the site was established in 750AD by St Fergus. In the graveyard is said to be the burial site of Margaret Bridie, who some say invented the bridie, famous today in nearby Forfar.
St Fergus Well is past the church and down a steep set of slippery steps. When there, I couldn't see the well. I spent far too long looking at a rectangular stone at the side of the river thinking, 'That can't be it - someone's havin' a laugh, surely?' I wandered along a woodland path and saw zilch. Turns out the well is to the left at the foot of the steps, and I just didn't think to go that way. Perhaps it would be easier for visitors if the church erected a large neon sign pointing towards it. And while they're at it maybe they could install a fast food joint selling Fergus Burgers.
The bus service in and out of Glamis is very poor, and one generally has to catch a bus from, or back to, Forfar. Given the sheer number of good tourist attractions in the village, I'm not sure why there is not a more regular bus service direct from Dundee. Anyway, this walk will allow you many happy moments on a minor narrow road high above the surrounding land, and your approach to Glamis will offer views over what at times seems like all of Angus. I highly recommend approaching Glamis this way. The map you should carry is the Ordnance Survey Landranger sheet 54, 'Dundee to Montrose', 1:50 000 scale or one-and-a-quarter inches to a mile.
Catch a Forfar bus from the bus station in Dundee. Ask the driver to let you off at the bus stop at Gateside, on the A90. It's about 4 miles south of Forfar. Look for it on your map. (NOTE - Be careful in case the bus driver mistakingly lets you off at the road to Douglastown instead - check farm names for reassurance that you're on the right road.) From the bus stop you have to back-track a little to pick up the minor road (yellow on your map) that passes the steadings of Kincreich, Wester Foffarty, and Upper Hayston. See it? This is a narrow road that sees an occasional car, but is generally very quiet. Views over all of Angus are stunning. Make sure to refer to your map now and then, as there are a few junctions, and you could go the wrong way. Just after Upper Hayston take the right branch in the road. This drops down and skirts a wood. If you look closely at your map, you'll see a footpath that leaves the road and passes through the edge of the wood. It passes near a property called Thornton. It also passes by an ancient sculpted stone with a cross on one side and various Pictish symbols on the other. Pause here a moment to soak up the atmosphere in a spot that is more important than you could ever imagine. Notice the ancient cobbled surface of this old track.
Just follow the track until it emerges from the wood. You need to turn left for a bit on a very fast and busy road, so be careful. On the other side of this road you can pick up the road into Glamis. Time now for some soup in The Corner Shop.
Angus Folk Museum, Glamis
The countryside around Glamis
Glamis Kirk, with King Malcolm's stone peeking above the manse hedge
The magnificent exterior of Glamis Castle
The graveyard of Glamis Kirk
Looking down the little country road near Glamis onto the countryside of Angus
The sculpted cross-slab stone in the woods of Hunters Hill, near Thornton, Glamis