04/06/2015
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Trace your Angus ancestors - new maritime trail launched

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A new, free booklet which tells the story of the people and places of coastal Angus has been released by Angus Heritage.

The Angus Maritime Trail hugs 35-miles of stunning shoreline, from Montrose to Monifieth beach, stopping off at the towns and villages in between with a guide to the history and heritage of each area. Written by Colin Easton, curator of Arbroath's Signal Tower Museum, the booklet spotlights Angus seafarers, including the fisher families of the now deserted clifftop village of Usan, the smugglers who made good use of the caves in the vicinity of Lunan Bay, the fearless Arbroath lifeboat men lost at sea and the Auchmithie fishwives who carried their men to their fishing boats so their feet didn’t get wet.

TALES OF THE SEA

Speaking of the tales he uncovered, Colin said: 'Thanks to the research I carried out while working on this leaflet, whenever I see Montrose Basin, I’m reminded of the financial acumen of the fishermen from Ferryden and Usan. They refused to pay the amount charged to non-Montrose fisherman for collecting mussels from Montrose Basin to use as bait. Instead, they formed their own Mussel Society and rented a stretch of the mussel beds, which worked out much cheaper.

'Another story I uncovered was of a brave Arbroath fisherman, William Swankie, who, in 1922, swam 50 feet in very stormy seas to secure a line to a ship which had been grounded on rocks near Carnoustie, enabling the crew to be rescued.'

The booklet is illustrated with archive images from Angus Archives, one of which is shown here - featuring workers from Arbuthnott & Son at Montrose Harbour in 1967.

'It’s good to be able to compare the places featured in the Angus Maritime Trail with how they look today and also to see how people lived and worked along the coast,' said Colin. 'Some of the skills which appear in the booklet, such as baiting the lines at Auchmithie, are long gone, while others, such as making Arbroath Smokies, are still very much in evidence.'

HOW TO OBTAIN THE BOOKLET

Pick up a copy of the new Angus Maritime Trail booklet at leisure centres, ACCESS offices, libraries, museums and tourist attractions across Angus. The booklet is also available to download from the Angus Heritage website.

READ MORE FAMILY HISTORY IN OUR DEDICATED NEWS AND FEATURES PAGES

(Image copyright Angus Archives)

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