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Issue 101 - Ferry Tale Stories

Scotland Magazine Issue 101
November 2018


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Ferry Tale Stories

Broughty Ferry is tranquil today, but has seen much activity over the years

Standing at the very edge of the River Tay, on its northern bank, a few miles east of Dundee, the historic town of Broughty Ferry is a marvellous place for a wander. Broughty Ferry translates from Gaelic simply as 'the Tay Bank Ferry' and relates to the ferry crossing that stretched across the Tay to Tayport until the 1920s.

The town grew as a small fishing port during the 17th and 18th centuries and expanded considerably as a holiday resort after the Dundee to Arbroath Railway Line opened in 1838 - many of Dundee’s jute merchants also bought homes here, seeing Broughty Ferry as a healthier place to live than industrial Dundee. However, Broughty Ferry became part of the city in 1913. Dominating this section of the coast, and overlooking the 19th century Broughty Ferry Harbour, is the imposing façade of Broughty Castle. Built in 1496 by the Gray family, it has had a controversial history, notably in 1547 when it was surrendered to English forces who had arrived by sea having defeated the Scots army at the Battle of Pinkie two weeks earlier. Lord Gray was a supporter of the English army’s campaign against Mary, Queen of Scots, and the Catholic administration.

The English held on to the castle for the next three years until they finally succumbed to a combined Scots-French army. However, General Monck and his army captured the castle again in 1651 and the Gray family finally sold up in 1666. The War Office purchased Broughty Castle in 1861 to protect Dundee, a role it succeeded in doing until 1949. Since 1969 it has been a museum and is open daily between April and September and Tuesday to Sunday from October to March.


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