THE Vale of Strathmore, lying between the Sidlaw hills to the south and the Grampian mountains to the north, is an area of Scotland I have rarely visited, despite growing up in Perth which lies at its southwestern limit.
Strathmore is a valley that runs roughly northeast from Perth for some fifty miles towards Stonehaven and is home to some of the most fertile farming land in the country.
First stop is Coupar Angus, once dominated by a Marshalls’ Chunky Chicken factory, whose lorries thundered past my childhood home leaving me, and other small children, covering our noses and gagging in their wake. There is still a chicken processing factory in the town but technology must have advanced as the lorries smell no more.
I photograph an abandoned railway bridge just outside Coupar Angus which is almost identical to the one I photographed near Alloa a few weeks ago. The bridge once crossed the River Isla here before heading into Blairgowrie as do I.
I like Blairgowrie, or Blair as it is known locally. It can be a bit ‘interesting’ on a Saturday night but it’s a great little town nonetheless. I feel slightly bad that the only photograph I use from the town is of road signs that have been repeatedly assassinated by airgun wielding Lee Harvey Oswalds. I just couldn’t resist.
I head on towards Glamis, where I had no intention of stopping, but as I passed through I caught a glimpse of Glamis Castle, birthplace of the Queen Mother, and drove down through the tree lined avenue to have a closer look. No two ways about it, it’s quite impressive...
Alyth was my last, and favourite, stop. This lovely little town sits beneath Alyth Hill, and is situated on Alyth Burn. This small river is crossed my many little bridges in the town and gives it almost the feel of Amsterdam and its canals.
The fairy ring I photograph on the way home is a reminder that this area is one that is steeped in the legend and story of the traveller folk. On dark nights there would often be mysterious lights weaving in and out of these trees and the sound of laughter and music could be heard on the wind. Come too close though and in an instant all would be dark and silent once more...
• Alan McCredie began the ‘100 weeks of Scotland’ website in October last year, and it will conclude in Autumn 2014. McCredie’s goal is to chronicle two years of Scottish life in the run-up to the independence referendum.
Alan says ‘one hundred weeks...’ is intended to show all sides of the country over the next two years. On the site, he says: “Whatever the result of the vote Scotland will be a different country afterward. These images will show a snapshot of the country in the run up to the referendum.
“The photos will be of all aspects of Scottish culture - politics, art, social issues, sport and anything else that catches the eye.”
Follow the project at www.100weeksofscotland.com. You can also follow Alan on Twitter @alanmccredie.