Robert Burns Trail

Robert Burns Trail In The North East

Robert Burns memorial cairn

A new Burns memorial cairn was built in 2023 the cairn provides a safe home for the original plaque.

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First Site of Robert Burns Stone Plaque

The original memorial plaque was carved by Adam Christie and installed in the wall in Rosemount road in 1930, commemorating  the visit of Robert Burns in 1787.

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Gayfield House

Formerly known as Townfield House in Hillside – where Provost Christie lived. Burns stopped there, with his travelling companions before heading to Montrose.

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Adam Christie Grave

Adam Christie was a was a sculptor that marked the spot where Robert Burns stopped to water his horse in Hillside in 1787.  

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William Lamb Studio

William Lamb was a sculptor and artist, known for his many pieces of work.  He produced a bust of  Robert Burns and mentored Adam Christie

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Burns Statue

Created by – William Birnie Rhind, circa 1882. Rhind was also the sculptor of the Montrose Memorial to James Graham, 1st Marquis of Montrose, in St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh.

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Montrose Museum

The MBC owned Adam Christie sculpture collection and a Burns collection are displayed in the Montrose museum.

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Burness House

Bow Butts, a street in Montrose,  is where Robert Burns’ cousin James Burnes lived in the house that Burns visited.

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Located in George Street, this is currently a childrens soft play area. This was the site where Burns stabled his horse.

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Turks Head Inn

The Turks Head Inn was an old coaching inn where Burns visited and stayed in 1787.

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Ferryden Pier

Ferryden Pier is located in Montrose, Angus, Scotland. Montrose is a historic coastal town, and the pier likely holds significance in maritime history.

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Arbikie Distillery

The current site of Arbikie Distillery is situated overlooking the A92 which was the old drove road heading south from Montrose to Arbroath.

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Robert Burns Trail In The North East

Our Club has created a Burns trail which will tie into several other relevant websites e.g. the Angus Council tourism website.

The trail includes places in and around Montrose associated with Robert Burns.

The trail can be visited from the North heading Southwards or indeed in any order you wish.

It is laid out on this website in a logical order from North to South as that is the direction in which Burns was travelling.  Please see suggested route and mileage details below.

The trail identifies all the Points of Interest (POI’s) associated with Robert Burns and we will be using A5 size Stainless Steel plaques
that include a QR code, which links to this website where you can see all the relevant detail.

To use a QR code simply use the camera on your smart device and activate the link it shows.  This will bring you to this website and to

the “Robert Burns Trail in the North East” index page.  From there you can click any of the links to take you to the POI you are interested

in.  Please enjoy the trail, whether you do it electronically here or even better by visiting the POI’s in person.

The trail includes stories of Burns, artefacts, buildings, sites in and around Montrose and people connected to his time in this area.
The trail allows everyone to follow and view all sites and artifacts within the Montrose area and hopefully encourages many a visitor to experience the trail first hand.

The MBC Archivist, Graeme Newton, led the drive to fund & create this website and trail.

 Graeme and fellow club members Dave Clark and David (Dave) Ramsay  worked with web designer, George McGillivray, Webecom Marketing, to create the website you see today.

Our work on the trail dovetails with the Montrose town tourist map; the Burns trail which Dave Ramsay created for the Mearns area and links with other Montrose organisations / businesses and with Angus Tourist board to promote the rich Burns heritage of our area to the public.

The original inspiration for a Burns Trail in and around Montrose came from Dave Ramsay himself when he gave the Immortal Memory toast at the Montrose Burns Club back in 2011, when Graeme was President.  At that time Dave took the guests on a journey that Burns and his companion William Nicol had taken down through the North East of Scotland and highlighted some of the great bards connections to our town. The seed was planted, although it took a while to grow!

MBC see the benefit of social media and we also have a Facebook page (Montrose Burns Club) which we use to promote the club.

You may wish to follow us on that and be kept up to date.

Until recently, MBC did not have a club logo, so in Feb 2023 the club asked graphic artist Sheena Bowman to create one for the club.

MBC gave Sheena the remit to design and create a logo with reference to the heritage of Burns but including elements associated with Montrose.  We are delighted with the final result.

MBC are indebted to Sheena for providing her skills, effort and time which resulted in creation of the logo which we immediately put into good use on letterheads, our Facebook page, this website and of course on our Trail plaques.

A big thank you to all the owners of the Points of Interest on our trail for allowing us to place plaques on their property and supporting our trail.

Robert Burns Trail in the North East Route (With Mileage)

(This is only a suggested route and takes you in the direction that Burns would have travelled.  Please note there is traffic and roads to cross, something Burns didn’t have to do.  Please feel free to use your own route).

 1. Robert Burns Memorial Cairn (0 Miles)

Location: What3words – ///kilt.brisk.hinders

Coordinates – 56.74538° N, 2.48813° W

From here only 200 yards down the road to the Robert Burns Original Plaque Site on your left.

2. Robert Burns Original Plaque Site (0 Miles)

Location: What3words – ///Albatross.props.gossiping

GPS Coordinates – 56.74487° N, 2.48573° W

From here go down road to end of trees – take a left into lane, across to Hospital Road. Turn right and go down past Rosemount school to Gayfield House on your right.

 3. Gayfield House (< 1 Mile)

Location: What3words – ///octaganol.wicked.audibly

GPS Coordinates – 56.72278° N, 2.478552° W

From here continue down to main road, turn right then go out to Dubton. Turn left, go under old railway bridge (now a mixed dirt road), go past Borrowfield farm, take a right onto track to “Duck named” housing estate, go through estate, turn right onto Brechin Rd, continue out to Sleepyhillock cemetery on your left. Go through main stone/gated entrance, go up track on left, take right hand fork, look for green bench – Adam Christie’s Grave is just beyond that.

4. Adam Christie Grave (3 Miles)

Location: What3words – ///upwards.bulletins.secrets

GPS Coordinates – 56.72242° N, 2.478912° W

Go back onto the Brechin Road, turn right into Montrose straight over roundabout and passed Lidl store, turn right at traffic lights, go along North Esk Rd, continue to Lamb Studio in Market Street.

5. William Lamb Studio (4.5 Miles)

Location: What3words – ///

GPS Coordinates – 56.71355° N, 2.46666° W

 Go down John street to the Mid Links, turn right along the Mid Links heading towards Montrose Academy, statue is sited opposite Montrose Museum in Dean Park.

6. Robert Burns Statue (5 Miles)

Location: What3words – ///cabs.marker.posed

Coordinates – 56.71031° N, 2.46357° W

Montrose Museum is directly across the road from the park. (Opening times vary

depending on season)

7. Montrose Museum (5 Miles)

Location: What3words – ///cowboys.salmon.communal

Coordinates – 56.71031° N, 2.46357°

 On Leaving the Museum turn right then right again into Bow Butts road and Burness House, No’s 9 – 11 are on your right.

 8. Burness House Bow Butts (5 Miles)

Location: What3words – ///sulked.comedians.shades

Coordinates – 56.71031° N, 2.46357° W

Continue straight on to George St – Stables site is on corner.

9. Stables (5 Miles)

Location: What3words -///Teaches.books.reporting

Coordinates – 56.70937° N,  2.46740° W

Turks Head site up street next to Stables site.

10. Turks Head Inn (5 Miles)

Location: What3words – ///animator.romantics.polishing

Coordinates – 56.70956° N, 2,46760° W

Proceed up George Street, turn left (5 miles) – go out by Bridge St, across road bridge onto Rossie Island Road towards Ferryden, turn left at roundabout into Ferryden – Ferryden Pier is along the main road in Ferryden on the left.

11. Ferryden Pier (6 Miles)

Location: What3words – ///dock.streak.bulbs

Coordinates – 56.70120° N, 2.46474° W

Proceed back along the Main road (Southesk Place, West Terrace, Ogilvie Terrace and turn left up Craig Road, heading out the village towards Barns of Craig, stay on road then turn right at Braehead of Lunan (after upper Dysart Rd). Be careful at junction with main road. Turn right and cross the road, take next left up to Arbikie distillery. (Bus stops on main road beside road to distillery.

12. Arbikie Distillery (11 Miles)

Location: What3words – ///hoaxes.manages.cashiers

Coordinates – 56.69059° N, 2.44982° W

(Café facilities and Whisky / Gin tasting facilities available, subject to opening hours)

Burns Trail Map


Burns Memorial Cairn

Robert Burns Memorial Cairn

Location: What3words – ///kilt.brisk.hinders

Coordinates – 56.74538° N, 2.48813° W

In 2022, MBC initiated a tender process for the construction of the new memorial cairn to the memory of our national Bard, Robert Burns. The contract for the removal of the plaque and wall re-instatement then construction of the new memorial was awarded to Brian Doig Builders of Arbroath, and preliminary groundwork and careful removal of plaque began end March 2023.

This new memorial is of considerable local, national and international significance, as it will be the first Burns memorial to be erected since the Millennium.

  • We sought to enlist the skills of a local Stonemason/Builder, preferably with a sympathetic interest in heritage, to undertake the construction of a new memorial site, to safeguard and future-proof this site of historic interest.
  • A tender process was then undertaken. A preferred provider was chosen from the short leet of local skilled stonemasons. Invites were sent to 8 and 3 companies responded with prices. After due consideration, the contract was awarded to Brian Doig Builders of Arbroath.
  • Crawford Architects Montrose very kindly supplied, free of charge, two outline designs for the cairn. We are grateful to Crawford’s for their support. The chosen cairn design incorporates a horseshoe plan, celebrating the horse watering stop.
  • Our club thanks the Parks department of Angus council for their assistance and for the stone cobbles laid as the floor of the memorial.
  • We thank Fleming of Bonnyton farm & company, for permitting the plaque to be moved from their wall.
  • The sandstone to build the cairn was generously donated by Sunnyside Estates Ltd who are currently developing the hospital area, where Adam Christie the sculptor of the memorial plaque in 1930, was a patient for over 50 years.
  • A single stone taken from the Adam Christie croft in Aith in Shetland, (Donated by the Christie family) was created by local sculptor Brian Wyllie of Pitmuries. Brian carved the head in the style of Adam Christie, is integrated within the new cairn – a likeness to his head other sculptures, famous in and around Montrose.
  • The cairn memorial design incorporates seating which would encourage visitors to the new Rosemount memorial site. Disability access is incorporated in the access and memorial area.
  • A fund raising exercise was undertaken to raise the £18,000 necessary to construct the new cairn.
  • Groundworks commenced at the cairn site, late March 2023 and on 6th April 2023, the plaque was removed from the wall at Rosemount, after a tricky and delicate operation. Club members were on site to see the start of the operation and the successful outcome.Brian Doig our contractor along with his assistant, carefully carried out the removal, without incurring any damage to the plaque. Well done to both and sighs of relief all round!!

    The whole project was based on this successful removal and we can’t stress how happy we are to see that this phase of the project was completed successfully.

    The depth of the plaque was unknown, until it was removed – this turned out to be a complete stone block, around a foot deep and there was a surprise finding behind the stone once it was moved – there was a whisky half-bottle left behind it, presumably by the 4 fine men of Sunnyside, including Adam Christie, who had fitted the stone back in 1930!  Perhaps back then, a few toasts to Robert Burns were given before the plaque was installed. However, not shared by Adam, as he was a teetotaler.

    Sadly no message was found inside the open bottle, which was half full of water, soil/stones, despite the bottle having been positioned under a piece of slate. Another wee mystery in this piece of heritage. 

    Brian and his team commenced work on the new memorial in April 2023, they laid the concrete for the cairn base, and at the same time reinstated the wall where the plaque was removed, using local stone.

    Work continued on the project throughout spring and summer, in parallel with fund raising to cover the costs. The memorial was completed early September 2023 and we are so very pleased with Brian Doig’s work – It is stunning, a fitting memorial worthy of our great Bard.

The words from Burns poem, (Rantin’ Rovin’ Robin) describing his own entry to the world.

“Our monarch’s hindmost year but ane,

had five and twenty days begun,

‘twas then a blast o’ Januar win’ blew hansel in on Robin.” 

First Site of the Robert burns stone plaque

Location: What3words – ///Albatross.props.gossiping

GPS Coordinates – 56.74487° N, 2.48573° W

The original memorial plaque was carved by Adam Christie and installed in the wall in Rosemount road in 1930, commemorating  the visit of Robert Burns in 1787 during his Highland tour. The plaque commemorates the day Burns stopped to water his horse before continuing into Montrose. The true story behind the plaque was only discovered in 2009, the “Year of the Homecoming” to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns, our national Bard

Historical Significance:

The plaque was installed by C.J. Shaw the Superintendent of Sunnyside Hospital, Willie Herd and Joseph Harris, two ward orderlies at Sunnyside, on the 13th September, as recorded in Burn’s diary of his stop at Rosemount, Hillside,. The original carved plaque was created by Adam Christie “The Gentle Shetlander”  who was a patient in Sunnyside for 50 years during which time he developed a skill of sculpting stone, along with a friendship with William Lamb the infamous Montrose sculptor. A commemorative memorial site to Adam Christie in Sleepyhillock cemetery, is well worth a visit as well.


In 2022 the condition of the wall deteriorated to the point the plaque was under serious threat, and MBC decided to move the plaque to a safe place and place the plaque into a new memorial.


Work started March 2023. 6th April 2023, the plaque was removed from the wall in Rosemount road without incurring any damage, and an empty bottle of whisky was discovered behind the plaque, where the “Four Men of Hillside” had obviously toasted our Bard, and this bottle, along with a new distillation was entombed in the new memorial cairn.

The depth of the plaque was unknown, and this turned out to be a complete stone block, around a foot deep.

Our contractor commenced work on the new memorial in April 2024 .  Work continued on the project throughout spring and summer, in parallel with fundraising to cover the costs. The memorial was completed on the 7th September 2023, and the highly skilled work of Brian Doig the builder, is an added testimony to our National Bard.

Visiting Information:

Montrose Burns Club are proud to have provided the continuation, conservation, and preservation of the first new memorial of the millennium to Robert Burns, our National Bard, and unveiled the new memorial cairn on 22nd March 2024, with local sponsors and dignitaries. 

Epitaph for William Nicol – Robert Burns on his travelling companion on his Highland tour of 1787

“Ye maggots, feed on Nicol’s Brain,

For few sic feasts you’ve gotten,

And fix your claws in Nicol’s heart,

For deil a bit o’ts rotten”. 

Gayfield House Montrose


This house is very close to the spot at Rosemount where Burns watered his horse.

Location: What3words – ///octaganol.wicked.audibly

GPS Coordinates – 56.72278° N, 2.478552° W

Formerly known as Townfield House in Hillside – where Provost Christie lived. Burns stopped there, possibly  directed over the river North Esk by Mr Craigie of Craigo. Townfield House, later to become Gayfield House as it is today.

Historical Significance:

From Burns own journal we know that it was Wednesday 12th September 1787 that he arrived in Montrose and left for Auchmithie on the Thursday for breakfast. (See, Raymond Lamont Brown, 1973 “Robert Burns’ Tours of the Highlands and Stirlingshire 1787”).Burns had initially stopped at Craigo House and then went onto Townfield House in Hillside, property of Provost Christie.  The party, composed of Burns, his cousin James Burness, Provost Christie and Mr Carnegie – the owner of Craigo House and William Nicol.  The party then proceeded to Bow Butts and then onto the Turks Head Inn.

From the Diary of Rober Burns 1787:

“Cross North Esk River and a rich country to Craigow – go through Hillside, to Montrose, that finely situated handsome town.”

Note: The house and its grounds are private property.  Please show respect to the owners that have kindly allowed this sign to be placed here to mark the connection with Robert Burns.  Please DO NOT enter the grounds.



Adam Christie's Grave

Location: What3words – ///upwards.bulletins.secrets

GPS Coordinates – 56.72242° N, 2.478912° W

Adam Christie’s grave is in a pauper area of Sleepyhillock cemetery. The grave was unmarked until 2009 when Dave Ramsay B.E.M. commissioned a stone head by Brian Wyllie in the style of Adam and gained HES designation as a place of historic significance. A rowan tree was planted at the graveside in remembrance of Adam.

The Story of Adam

Adam Christie, a Shetlander from Cunningsburgh, was a patient in Sunnyside sanatorium for most of his life until his death in 1950. During his time there he took to sculpting with very rudimentary tools – old nails and pieces of glass. He carved a significant amount of stone heads, some of which survive today in an around Montrose.

Adam Christie’s story is told in the book ‘’The Gentle Shetlander’’ by Dr Kenneth Keddie, a psychiatrist who worked at Sunnyside sanatorium.

MBC recognises the significance and importance of the outside artist Adam Christie.

In 1930 Christie carved the words and date in remembrance to Burns in a plaque out of a piece of sandstone. This plaque is the one in Rosemount which commemorates Burns’ stop during his Highland tour. It was only in 2009, that research uncovered the fact it was Adam who sculpted the Hillside plaque dedicated to Robert Burns, who stopped there on his Highland tour of 1787.

Not only did he carve that inscription, but he was a poet, artist, fiddle maker and prodigious sculptor, using only rudimentary tools.

Dave Ramsay planned a major event for May 7th 2020 to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the death of Adam Christie, and create a new annual event in memory of Adam. The COVID pandemic postponed that event. The commemoration event was eventually held in May 2022 with our club in attendance. The MBC President, Vice-President and other members represented the club.

Dave Ramsay sang a song he had written in memory of Adam Christie

A week later, David attended a memorial event for Adam Christie at Cunningsburgh Shetland. The MBC President was unable to attend and no other club members were available to stand-in, so the President provided an address on behalf of our club which David read at the event.

Dave Ramsay first gained permission to have a tree planted, in the area where Adam was buried in a pauper’s grave. Dave chose a rowan tree (a species called Joseph Rock!) which he thought very appropriate for a sculptor.

Dave then made a successful submission to Historic Environmental Scotland, to have Adam Christie recognised with a cast bronze plaque, and gained permission to have it sited close to the rowan tree. He also sponsored the Angus sculptor Brian Wylie to create an Adam Christie head, sculpted in the Christie style.

Given that the close connection between Adam Christie and Joseph Harris is celebrated at Hillside, he was keen to mirror that at Sleepyhillock. The gravesite is promoted through Montrose Burns Club, as the works and memory of Adam Christie are so significant and important, coupled with the fact that Adam was taken under the wing of William Lamb, the famous Montrose sculptor.

Joseph Harris, the orderly from Sunnyside hospital and one of the four men of Hillside, shared the same birthday as Robert Burns, and was also a direct descendant of Burns.

Given that Adam Christie was a poet himself, there are some rich connections here, which deserved to be remembered and promoted. 

Song of The Gentle Shetlander – Dave Ramsay BEM

There is no doubt that Adam found a strong creative streak,

Borne out of a troubled soul where it had lain so deep,

The sculptures he created which to staff and friends he gave,

Live on to tell his story from beyond his pauper’s grave.

The Gentle Shetlander song about Adam Christie by Dave Ramsay –   Click To Play

Our Club’s continuing association with Adam Christie

In early March 2023, an eleventh hour bid to retain a unique collection of Christie sculptures was partly successful. In Montrose, on Monday 6th March 2023, 22 heads sculpted by Adam Christie were put up for auction.

An initiative late on the previous Friday, by Peter Stuart (Secretary, Montrose Burns Club) along with three other pledges of financial support at the eleventh, proved sufficient to safeguard and secure 11 pieces on behalf of Montrose Burns Club.

Peter Stuart said “we didn’t have much notice to react to this opportunity, but thanks to the investigative work by Dave Ramsay, we were able to do some diligence on likely values and come up with a plan to try and bid for some of the lots. I am absolutely delighted that we have managed to secure these items and be able to have them remain local to where Adam spent the bulk of his life. We also recognise the responsibility we now have as custodians of these artifacts but, as a Club that has been in existence for over a hundred years, we feel we are well placed to do so“.

This was timely news, as funding had commenced to safeguard the original Hillside Burns plaque, by the planned construction of a new Montrose Burns Memorial, by incorporating the original plaque in the new cairn.

David Clark, past president of Montrose Burns Club (MBC), was the lead coordinator and project manager for the construction of the new memorial and cairn, adjacent to the present site.

David Clark said –

“MBC recognises the significance and importance of the outside artist Adam Christie. Not only did he carve the inscription on the Burns memorial plaque at Rosemount, but he was a poet, artist, fiddle maker and prodigious sculptor using only rudimentary tools”.

On 20th March 2023, David Clark, Dave Ramsay, and Arbroath sculptor Brian Wylie, were arranging the recently acquired Montrose Burns Club collection of Adam Christie sculptures for a photo shoot and had the sculptures displayed outdoors.

Brian was commissioned to carve a piece of stone from Adam’s birthplace in Aith, Cunningsburgh, Shetland, in the Christie style, which was positioned within the new Burns Memorial Cairn at Hillside. This stone was brought back from Shetland by Dave Ramsay, who had attended a commemorative event in September 2022, celebrating the anniversary of Adam’s birth. 

The new Montrose Burns memorial was built from stone donated from the old Sunnyside hospital, where Adam was a patient for almost 50 years, and died there in 1950, and was buried in a pauper’s grave in Sleepyhillock cemetery. Brian has already sculpted a Christie style piece of work which is situated at Adam’s grave site.

Brian also selected a piece of old stone from Sunnyside, which will receive the same Christie style treatment from Brian, and will be installed in the Adam Christie memorial cairn in Shetland. This will ensure that the Burns – Christie connection is acknowledged in two commemorative sites, keeping this remarkable story alive.

In the process of displaying the stones, David removed the moss which had gathered on the recently acquired “Kiltie” sculpture from the top and bottom of the sculpture. Brian Wylie with his keen sculptor’s eye, noticed some lettering on the base of the sculpture and on closer inspection we could see the word “Samson” This is a remarkable discovery, as we know that Adam had a keen interest in biblical figures.

David Clark said, “Managing to retain the large kilted figure as part of this collection was so very pleasing, but now to discover it is a named stone has taken this to the next level. Also it is very fitting that our Hillside cairn will have a stone from Aith Shetland and theirs will have one from Sunnyside Montrose, both sculpted in the Christie style by Brian”

 To date, as far as can be established, the only other named piece is his largest sculpture “Goliath” which is in the Shetland museum. This discovery today adds a totally new provenance dimension and great importance to the recently acquired collection. Dave Ramsay, who is working with Montrose Burns Club on the new cairn, will be undertaking further research in the light of today’s discovery. Yet another exciting chapter in the remarkable story of “The Gentle Shetlander.”

Dave Ramsay said, “I have followed the Adam Christie story since 2009, and since then many new discoveries have been made and acknowledged, to ensure the story never dies. This new discovery reminds us that there are perhaps further undiscovered gems, about the life and work of Adam Christie the “Gentle Shetlander,” and continue to acknowledge the important part they play in both local and national heritage.”

MBC signed a contract in June 2023 with the Montrose museum with David Ramsay for leasing, management and display the collection in Montrose and elsewhere including Shetland, to allow the public access to view this interesting collection and to understand more about the talent and heritage of Adam Christie.

Note: Please respect the tranquillity of the cemetery and adhere to any guidelines regarding visitor conduct.

William Lamb Studio

Location: What3words – ///

GPS Coordinates – 56.71355° N, 2.46666° W

It is known that William Lamb took Adam Christie under his wing and permitted Adam to work at his studio in Market Street, Montrose. Lamb offered Christie use of his own sculpting tools, but Christie declined, preferring to use his own rudimentary method of carving stone using old nails and pieces of glass.

William Lamb – Sculptor:

William Lamb (1893–1951) was a Scottish sculptor, born in Montrose, known for his contributions to the arts during the early to mid-20th century. His work included sculptures, drawings, and paintings.

Lamb sculpted a bust of Robert Burns which ended up with the Sunderland Burns club. This bust is reported to be on display in a Sunderland museum follow the closure of the Sunderland Burns Club in 2011. Research is underway to ascertain where the bust currently is.

    William Lamb the sculptor took Adam ‘neath his wing, both the Master and the Shetlander, life from stone did bring,

    In his sculpture of the Newsvendor, which was one of Lamb’s great works, he’d captured Adam’s character, his pose, his clothes, his quirks.

    Significance of the Studio:

    The studio serves as a memorial to William Lamb and a showcase of his artistic achievements. It might house some of his original works, providing insight into his creative process and artistic vision.

    The News Vendor – Sculpted by Lamb

    The Daily News – Sculpted by Lamb

    Robert Burns Connection:

    William Lamb is not directly connected to Robert Burns, but has a tangible link to the Bard through his mentoring of Adam Christie and the commission of a Burns bust that he sculpted in his Montrose studios,  Exploring Lamb’s studio offers visitors the opportunity to appreciate the broader artistic and cultural context of Montrose and see the works of Lamb. 

    Lamb completed his training in 1915.  His works however are even more amazing when when you discover that Lamb trained as aright handed artist, but due to a war injury he retrained to carry on his amazing work using only his left hand.  

    His desire to create was never diminished and Lamb’s most productive period was from 1924 to 1933


    Artistic Heritage:

    The studio is an essential part of Montrose’s artistic heritage, contributing to the town’s identity as a place that nurtures creativity and celebrates the arts.

    Visiting Information:

    The William Lamb Studio is open to the public, allowing visitors to experience the ambiance of the artist’s workspace and gain a deeper understanding of his artistic journey.  

    The Friends of the William Lamb Studio is a community group established in Montrose, Scotland in 1977. In 1978 the William Lamb Memorial Studio – William Lamb’s own working studio from 1935 until his death in 1951 – was to be re-opened and developed as a small gallery and museum to the memory of William Lamb – one of Scotland’s finest sculptor and artist – under the management of the Museum Service of Angus Council.

      Burns Statue from drone

      Robert Burns Statue

      Location: What3words – ///cabs.marker.posed

      Coordinates – 56.71031° N, 2.46357° W

      We are rightly proud of the fine statue which stands close to Montrose Academy. Our club holds a ceremony to lay a wreath at the statue each January 25th at 12 noon in remembrance of the birth of Robert Burns

      A ‘’pedestrian’’ statue of Robert Burns in stone upon a large moulded ashlar base with corner nook shafts, and figurative bas-reliefs in roll-moulded panels on each side. Carved foliage to cornice. Battered coping. Burns figure leaning against tree stump cradling book in hand”


      • In May 1882 a movement was started to raise funds for the erection of a statue to Burns, this was to form part of the Mid Links development situated in public gardens opposite Academy Square.
      • In 1883 Andrew Carnegie was invited to contribute towards erecting a statue of Burns in Montrose, Scotland. Although Carnegie only covered a small fraction of the monument’s cost (£20 out of £600, it was paid for mainly by private subscription and fundraising). This appears to be his first contribution towards a monument to our famous Scottish bard.
      • Carnegie insisted that the New York sculpture should not be replicated. His wish was granted, and the statue was erected in the Mid Links in July 1912, then unveiled the same year by Carnegie.
      • The statue was given status as a listed B category building in 1971.
      • In summer of 2022 a light-hearted email exchange between our club President and Fraser Elder, the Craigie column writer took place, as the Dundee Courier had to be reminded of the existence of our very fine Burns statue. This was necessary, after a piece on Burns statues in “Courier country” in their Craigie column failed to mention Montrose. This led to Fraser Elder the columnist later including a piece on our statue, sent to him by MBC.

      A Man’s a Man for a’ That – Robert Burns

      Is there for honest poverty

      That hings his head, and a’ that?

      The coward slave we pass him by,

      We dare be poor for a’ that,

      For a’ that and a’ that,

      The the rank is but the guinea’s stamp,

      The man’s the gowd for a’ that.


      Andrew Carnegie unveiling the Burns statue in 1912

      The Start of Andrew Carnegies Speech

      Provost and Fellow Citizens of Montrose,

      We are met to-day to testify that the immortal Bard still lives in our memory,

      that his fame increases with time—that his place in the world

      as in our hearts strengthens with the years—and that the debt we owe him is indeed unpayable.

      No man who ever lived has so many memorial statues in so many lands,

      and yet we meet today in Montrose to dedicate still another.

      It was not his genius, his insight, his vision, his wit or spirit of manly independence,

      nor all of these combined, which captured the hearts of men.

      It was his spontaneous, tender, all-pervading sympathy with

      every form of misfortune, pain or grief; not only in

      man but in every created form of being. He loved all

      living things, both great and small. Repeated are the

      proofs of this overflowing tenderness. The nest of the

      mouse destroyed by the plough which had ” cost many

      a weary nibble,” appeals to his heart and the lesson is enforced :

      ” But mousie thou art no thy lane

      In proving foresight may be vain,

      The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men

      Gang aft a-gley

      An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain

      For promised joy.”


      Montrose Museum

      montrose Museum

      Location: What3words – ///cowboys.salmon.communal

      Coordinates – 56.71031° N, 2.46357°

      Robert Burns & Adam Christie Exhibitions are on Display in the Museum

      The 1707 Imperial Measure

      Atkinson, Norman K 1997 “The Early history of Montrose”.

      Page 23/24 – “Of the Imperial Measures introduced at the start of Queen Anne’s reign, only the pint survives. It was donated to Montrose Museum by Provost J.W.Japp and seems to have been used latterly as a tankard in the Turk’s Head Inn, down what is known as George Street. It has three crowns, A.R. (Queen Anne), a rose (for England), a thistle (for Scotland). The opposite side bears the date for the first United Parliament, primo maii 1707 (1st May).  In Jacobite Montrose, it is interesting to speculate how much it was used as a measure!”.

      Opp.Page 36 “Photo of the 1707 Imperial pint measure, imposed after the Act of Union”

      Imperial Pint Measure

      On the late Captain Grose’s peregrinations thro Scotland (Collecting the antiquities of that Kingdom) – Robert Burns

      He has a fouth o auld nick-nackets,

      Rusty airn caps and jingling jackets,

      Wad haud the Lothian’s three in tackets,

      A towmont guid:

      And parritch – pats, and auld salt buckets,

      Before the Flood.

        Visiting Information:

        Check this website for information on opening hours, admission fees, and any special exhibitions or events.


            bURNESS HOUSE

            Location: What3words – ///sulked.comedians.shades

            Coordinates – 56.71031° N, 2.46357° W

            9 / 11 Bow Butts is a located in Montrose

            The home of James Burness, Burns’ cousin.  Known locally in the town at that time as simply Provost Burnes, he married Elizabeth Glegg on the 22nd April 1800, she was the daughter of Adam Glegg a merchant burgess and former Provost of Montrose. They had nine sons and six daughters. As a young man James was apprenticed to his father and studied law, becoming a solicitor. He became Dean of the Guildry incorporation and entered the town council as a councillor on the 11th December 1817, on the 23rd September 1818, he was elected chief magistrate (Provost, the Scottish equivalent of ‘Mayor’). After an interval of four years, he was again re-elected provost in September 1824 he left that office on the 2nd February 1825 and was appointed as a joint Town Clerk. He had a deep interest in municipal affairs and exposed the abuses of the old burgh system whereby the old council elected the new council without any mandate or vote from the local citizens. He was described as ‘a father of Scottish Burgh reform’ when he supported the move for elected council members. He was appointed a Justice of the Peace (J.P.) for Forfarshire, this in recognition of his public services, it is said that ‘he was held in high esteem for his upright conduct, his great humour, and generosity of disposition.” James Burness owned a large house which stood in a street called the BOW BUTTS in Montrose. (This house still exists and has recently undergone extensive renovation work.)

            Of James’s nine sons, five became active freemasons, three (James, Adam and David) were members of Lodge St Peter and two (Alexander and Charles) became honorary members).

            This was the first and only time Robert Burns met his Montrose cousins.

            The cousins corresponded with each other, and it was to James that Robert Burns sent a tragic and urgent appeal in July 1796 for £10 to save him from the horrors of the Jail.

            ‘O, James! Did you know the pride of my heart, you would feel doubly for me! Alas I am not used to beg!… Forgive me for once more mentioning by return of post. Save me from the horrors of a jail!’ Robert Burns had joined the local militia and had ordered a uniform to be made by the local tailor, Robert seemingly did not have the money to pay the bill and he appealed to his cousin in Montrose to help. James sent the money, but it arrived just too late, Robert Burns had died. James sent a further £5 to Jean Armour, along with an offer to take their young son, Robert and to educate the boy with his own children in Montrose, a generous offer indeed but Jean would not part with any of her children. James Burnes died at Montrose on the 12th June 1837, aged eighty-seven and his remains were buried near those of his father, in the old burgh churchyard in Montrose.


            The Selkirk Grace – Robert Burns

            Some hae meat but cannot eat,

            Some cannot eat that want it:

            But we we hae meat and we can eat,

            Sae let the Lord be thankit.



            Location: What3words -///Teaches.books.reporting

            Coordinates – 56.70937° N,  2.46740° W

            At the foot of George Street sits Scallywags which is a soft play and laser tag centre, with an onsite café.  Housed in the former St Andrews Church building which was also known as George Street Free Church or St George’s Free Church.  However back in 1787 it provided the stables where Robert Burns stabled his horse on his only overnight stay in Montrose.


            Elegy on Willie Nicol’s mare – Robert Burns

            Peg Nicolson was a good bay mare,

            An’ the priest he rode her sair;

            And much oppressed, and bruis’d she was,

            As priest – rid cattle are. 







            Turks Head Inn


            Location: What3words – ///animator.romantics.polishing

            Coordinates – 56.70956° N, 2,46760° W

            George Street was formerly called School Wynd when the Turks Head existed.

            The Turks Head Inn was an old coaching inn, the site of which is the now the George Street Barbers and Sun Studio.  George Street was called School Wynd when the Turk’s Head existed.

            {The writings of James G. Low in his ” Closes of Montrose and John Wood’s 1822 “Plan of the town of Montrose” excellent at pinning down the exact sites).
            William Burnes, another relative of the bard had purchased the Turk’s Head Inn in 1783, where Robert spent the night after meeting with his cousin in his nearby Bow Butts home.

            A family called Bertram later purchased the Turks’ Head Inn where Burns had stayed, and it was then also known as Bertram’s Stables. The Bertram property is clearly marked on the John Wood plan before School Wynd became George Street. After the town purchased it with a view to widening the street, the church was built at the corner.

            Burns, during his tour of the Highlands in 1787, stayed 12-13th Sept, enjoyed some refreshments at the Turks Head Inn, an old Coaching Inn in School Wynd, now called George Street in Montrose.  It was owned by William Burness, another cousin of the bard who had purchased the Turk’s Head Inn in 1783, where Robert spent the night.

             At that time drinks were measured and dispensed from Imperial measures that had been introduced at the start of Queen Anne’s reign.  At the time of Burn’s visit to Jacobite Montrose, he reputably drank in jest from Imperial Pint measure whilst at the Turks Head Inn.  This pint measure was the only one to survive and was donated to the Montrose Museum by Provist J.W.Japp.  It is now included in the Burns display.

            There originally was a wooden carved figure head that was mounted outside the inn.  It sadly disappeared and its whereabouts remained a mystery for several years.  The MBC Archivist located it in Montrose in Feb 2024.  We are pleased to say it has been professionally restored by its current owner.  Montrose Burns Club are hoping to get a replica made, which we will then be able to put on display.

            School Wynd painted by James G Low when it was known as School Wynd and is now George Street

            Versicles on Sign Posts – Robert Burns

            His face with smile eternal drest,

            Just like the landlord to his guest,

            High as they hang with creaking din,

            To index out the Country Inn.

             Note: These premises are under private ownership.  Please show respect to the owners that have kindly allowed this sign to be placed here to mark the connection with Robert Burns.


            Ferryden Pier

            Ferryden Pier

            Location: What3words – ///dock.streak.bulbs

            Coordinates – 56.70120° N, 2.46474° W

            Ferryden Pier is located in Ferryden, Montrose.  Ferryden is an old historic fishing village that sits to the South of the coastal town of Montrose.  The pier in years gone by operated a ferryboat, as this was the only means to cross the South Esk river.

            Ferryden Pier  has a rich history tied to maritime trade, fishing, and transportation. Piers were essential in facilitating the movement of goods and people in coastal towns.  The pier often acted as the centre point of the village and often hosted village parties and gatherings.

            After spending the night in the Turks Head Inn on 12th Sept 1787, Robert Burns left Montrose to continue his journey South to Auchmithie, where he was to breakfast.

            At that time there was no bridge across the river and we believe that Burns landed at the pier.  The pier still exists to this day, although there is no longer a ferry boat.

            Visitors to Ferryden Pier can explore the waterfront area and small beach, enjoy scenic views of the coast, and observe maritime activities or the local fishing boats that work from the Ferryden pier.  For the more energetic there is a lovely walk down a small tarred road to the Scurdyness lighthouse, that sits at the mouth of the river.


            Arbikie Distillery

            Location: What3words – ///hoaxes.manages.cashiers

            Coordinates – 56.69059° N, 2.44982° W

            The current site of Arbikie Distillery is situated overlooking the A92 which was the old drove road heading south from Montrose to Arbroath.  It is most likely that Robert Burns took this route on his way south after his night’s rest at the Turks Head Inn. The only other route would have been a coastal pathway, but this really was farm tracks and therefore unlikely that Burns chose that route.  However, as Norman Atkinson MBE states, the most probable route was over the Southesk river by ferry boat from the town of Montrose to Ferryden and then onto the drove road (as no bridge existed then over the South Esk).

            Distillery Overview:

            In 1787, like many farms in the area, Arbikie was a mixed arable farm, blessed with rich soil and crops, all naturally grown and fertilised by their own cattle herds. 

            Officially, there are records of an illicit still on the farm in 1794, but we are confident the still was on the farm prior to this recording, so another passion of Burns’ “uisge beatha“, the water of life would have been enjoyed by the farmers. 

             Visitors to Arbikie Distillery have the opportunity to take guided tours, learn about the distillation process, and sample the distillery’s products.

            John Barleycorn:  a ballad – Robert Burns 

            Then let us toast John Barleycorn,

            Each man a glass in hand,

            And may his great posterity

            Ne’er fail in old Scotland.