Remembering Burns’s visit

Left to right - Peter Black, past president, Arbroath Burns Club, Norrie Braes, president Montrose Burns Club, Ken Smith, past president, Arbroath Burns Club,  Bill Howatson, Dave Ramsay, Gladys Smith, and piper Lewis Maitland.
Left to right - Peter Black, past president, Arbroath Burns Club, Norrie Braes, president Montrose Burns Club, Ken Smith, past president, Arbroath Burns Club, Bill Howatson, Dave Ramsay, Gladys Smith, and piper Lewis Maitland.

The 10th commemorative event was held at the Burns plaque at Hillside in Angus on Sunday, to celebrate where the Bard stopped to water his horse on his Highland tour of 1787.

It also reflected on Adam Christie, the Shetland sculptor, who spent 50 years as a patient in Sunnyside Hospital, Montrose, where he developed a skill for sculpture in stone, using only an old file, a six inch nail, and broken glass for finishing.

The inaugural event took place in the Year of the Homecoming in 2009, as a result of research through the Father of the Bard project, led by its director Dave Ramsay, in a joint initiative between Aberdeenshire Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Dave said: “Both of these stories could well have been lost to our heritage, but thanks to the success of this event, through the support of local Burns clubs, heritage groups and the public, we can now ensure that this part of our rich heritage in Angus and the Mearns is is now firmly embedded, for future generations.”

Robert Burns undertook his Highland tour of 1787, including his visit to the farms, locations and relatives of his family in the Mearns.

A plaque in the wall at Hillside dated 1930, commemorates Burns’s links to the area.

Aberdeenshire Provost Bill Howatson paid a special tribute to the important heritage work, and also provided the “Hillside Address,” bringing out the importance of the rich culture of Angus and the Mearns, and the significance of this annual event.