The northern-most coastal town in Angus is the Royal Burgh of Montrose – a proud little town whose pinky-grey buildings radiate history and tell of a time when this was the prosperous home of merchants, sea captains and wealthy landowners.
The town’s natural harbor has for centuries been the focal point of Montrose. The Old Pretender having sailed from here at the close of the 1715 rising. Skins, hides and cured salmon were the earliest exports from Montrose port, while flax bound for the spinning wheels to make sailcloth for the fishing industry was imported from the Baltic, with wines and fruit coming from France and Portugal. Today the port services the North Sea oil industry.
Montrose is a town with a wealth of architecture and is a center for international trade. It is an important commercial port for the thriving oil and gas industry in the UK. In fact, two of the biggest companies in the town include National Oilwell Varco and GE Oil and Gas which focus on oil business.
Being a center of oil industry, the town caters to a lot of business trips where executives have been constantly using the Aberdeen Taxis as their preferred mode of transportation to Montrose.
Though relatively small, this town has numerous interesting things that not just businessmen but tourists, as well, will enjoy. And we listed 5 of them in this blog.
1. Montrose Museum
Montrose Museum was purpose built in 1842 to display the growing collections of the Montrose Natural History and Antiquarian Society. The neo-classical building is impressive from the outside with ionic columns either side of the entrance way and Greek key design features.
The interior is just as remarkable, with an atrium, mezzanine and galleries. The museum collections cover many eras including early archaeological finds, the Jacobite period, maritime history of the area and much more. There is also an art gallery with changing exhibitions.
2. Montrose Beach
The golden sands of Montrose Beach stretch for 3 miles from Montrose to the North Esk River, with stunning views south to Scurdieness lighthouse. Montrose is a family beach with a handy promenade and car parking, plus shop and amusement center. More importantly though it also has a Seafront Splash play area for children, pools, pitch and putt and an ice cream parlor. The quirky Trail Pavilion, built in 1913, houses the public toilets, open at peak times.
There’s a campsite near the harbor if you take a shine to the area, be sure if you do stay to take a family ramble in the lovely nature reserve in the tidal basin to the west. The phone number provided is for the local tourist information service.
3. The Statue of the Heroic Dog Bamse
A statue stands in one spot in Montrose and it is dedicated to a Norwegian St Bernard named Bamse.
He was owned by a Captain in the Norwegian Navy during WW2 and went to sea with him on his minesweeper during the war. The ship was stationed in Dundee and Montrose and Bamse became a local favorite.
During action Bamse would wear a personalized steel helmet and guard the gun tower. Among his other heroic acts, he would break up fights between crewman, dragged a sailor who had fallen overboard back to shore and saved a young lieutenant who was being attacked with a knife by pushing his assailant overboard.
He subsequently became the mascot of the Royal Norwegian Navy and Free Norwegian Forces. He died on the dockside of Montrose in 1944 and was buried with full military honors. His funeral was attended by hundreds of people and he has received two posthumous awards.
The Royal Norwegian Navy holds a commemorative ceremony for him every 10 years and it is fair to say that even after all this time, the exceptional Bamse hasn’t been forgotten in Montrose.
4. Montrose Air Station Heritage Centre
Aviation fans and military history enthusiasts will particularity love this place, but it is also a great attraction for anyone with an interest in local history or how things work. Children will also love it because it is very hands on and interactive.
The heritage center is located on the site of the former Montrose Air Station. Founded in 1913 it was Britain’s first military air station. It is also allegedly one of the most haunted places in Scotland with sightings of phantom aircraft and figures dressed in flying uniforms – but don’t let that put you off!
Exhibits range from photographs, military memorabilia, a ‘Green Goddess’ fire engine and full-size aircraft, plus lots, lots more. There is also an aircraft model shop where you can watch the volunteers build scale replicas in the workshop. If you have the time, you could easily spend a few hours exploring all the displays.
5. Explore Ferryden and Scurdie Ness Lighthouse
From Ferryden it is only a mile along the coast to Scurdie Ness Lighthouse. Ferryden is a former historic fishing village located just over the river from Montrose. It makes for a nice easy coastal walk and along the way you can spot WW2 fortifications and historic navigation aids.
Also look out for rock known as Ferryden Lavas, which is one of the oldest volcanic rocks in Scotland.
How to Get to Montrose Scotland
Montrose is 55 miles away from Aberdeen. Traveling there may take as fast as 50 minutes to over an hour ride.
There are 4 ways you can get to Montrose.
Locals who own a car can drive there for 1 hour and 20 minutes (or longer if you ever get lost along the way) and gas may cost £10 per way. But if you need to accommodate more and your car can only sit 4 people, then another option is to hire taxis in Aberdeen. One company you can book with is the Aberdeen Taxis.
Going to Montrose via Aberdeen Taxis will also take at least 1 hour and 20 minutes. Renting the sedan will cost £95 but the bigger 8-seater taxi will cost £140. This is cheaper compared to taking the train which will cost £45 per head per way. The train is your fastest option, though, traveling for only 40 minutes.
Your last option for traveling to Montrose is taking the bus. Ticket will cost £6-£10 per head per way.
Visit this unique pocket of the country and you will share the affections of the people of Angus for this Scotland’s best kept secret town.