Carnoustie is a town in Scotland on the North Sea coast. The town grew rapidly due to the growth of the local textile industry and is best known for the Carnoustie Golf Links course that often hosts the Open Championship.
The area surrounding Carnoustie has been occupied continuously since the Neolithic period. There is an abundance of sculptured stones to be found over the surrounding areas.
Our campsite, Woodlands, was within a short walk to the town centre. The campsite has managed to maintain a good degree of privacy. This is no mean feat as there is a large development of newly built houses opposite the entrance, a primary school is situated at its east side and a public park is located through a secured gate to it’s south.
Woodlands is a family run caravan and camping site. There is a dedicated area for tents. The facilities are well maintained and include toilet & shower blocks, a laundry room and games room. There is also free Wi-Fi.
While we were there, I took a short video which might help you visualise the campsite better –
Perfect for a wander into Carnoustie and as a base camp to go exploring the surrounding areas.
We decided to explore by car but there are also lots of walking and cycling options along the Angus coast. That said, it’s not that easy to find a website that gives you all the information you will need. Yes, you can find some specific information from personal blogs etc. but I would recommend Walk Highlands
Our first stop, along the A92, was Lunan Bay. A stunning golden sands beach situated between Arbroath and Montrose. Two historic towns that are worth a visit in their own right but for us, it was Lunan Bay we wanted to visit. In fact, the Vikings also wanted to visit, way back in the 10th century and today remains a secluded haven on the dramatic coastline.
With its beautiful sand dunes and low cliffs, it extends for two miles and on that particular day that we were there, we had the whole beach to ourselves. It’s not just amazing natural scenery though, there is also the crumbling ruin of Red Castle which overlooks the Bay and dates from the 12th century. The beach can be accessed via the car park and short walk.
Next up on our tour was St Cyrus. Again, another stunning beach but with a different character and visitor appeal. The beach runs for 3 miles, from the village of St Cyrus to the mouth of the North Esk River and is part of St Cyrus national nature reserve. With its striking cliffs and sand dunes as well as the nature reserve, there is a lot of wildlife and natural wonders to see.
There is car parking, toilets and a visitor centre.
The A92 would take us to one more destination before we changed direction and joined the A90 and what a destination it was! Dunnottar Castle has got to be one of the most dramatic and awe-inspiring castles. It’s one of those wonders that makes you ask ‘How the hell did they build that?’ Perched on a clifftop and built / extended/altered over the centuries, there are records of a chapel from 1296. With a timescale like that, you won’t be surprised that Dunnotar Castle has a lot of history. The Castle has been attacked by Vikings and William Wallace killed an entire English Garrison inside the Castle with only a handful of men. Kings and queens through history have also been drawn to its magnificence and strategic defence design. This is a must-visit!
We returned to our car, still amazed by what we had seen, and headed along the A90 until we reached Brechin That’s when we realised that our day had flown in and we didn’t have time to stop as we still had other destinations on our itinerary. So, unfortunately, on this occasion, Brechin was just another one of those picturesque Scottish towns that caught our eye as we drove through.
Soon we turned off the A90 onto the B9134 and made our way to our next stop. The Aberlemno Sculptured Stones four Pictish carvings dating between about AD 500 and 800. One is in the churchyard and the other three stand across the road next to a field. Luckily this is a quiet road but you still need to take care.
The stones are well worth a visit and still retain much detail. The stone in the churchyard depicts a battle scene which may represent the Battle of Dunnichen in 685AD.
Our final stop, along the B9134, was Restenneth Priory This building just oozes history. Dating back to at least 710 AD, it played a significant part in history and the lives of people who recognised it’s significance. Robert the Bruce buried his infant son John here in the early 1300s. The annals of Iona, which were important historical documents, were said to have been kept here by Alexander I
This wee road trip had it all. Amazing beaches, a unique nature reserve to stretch your legs and try to get a glimpse of the wildlife, a stunning castle, ancient scarved stones and priory that stood proud with so much history.
This part of Scotland is definitely on our return list.