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Chapter 2. - General Characteristics

The high place Forfarshire takes on the list of Scottish counties is largely due to the fact that its industries are so varied. It has a long seaboard with several good harbours and aluable fishing-stations. The estuary of the Tay, though not without its dangers to navigation, has had its natural facilities carefully fostered by the harbour authorities of Dundee, and occupies the third place in Scotland for ship-building and the harbourage of vessels, being excelled only by the Forth and the Clyde.

Angus has played no inconsiderable part in the general history of the country. If one hears less of its battle-fields than of others, it was on at least one occasion the scene of a conflict—that of Nechtan’s Mere—decisive in shaping the trend of subsequent events in Scotland; if it has not the fame of the Border, its proximity to the Grampians, a boundary line far more momentous than the Cheviots, as marking the limits of Celt and Saxon, laid it open to incursions quite as formidable and quite as resolutely repelled as the raids of the southron into Scotland. Its sons have made for themselves a name by both flood and field and also in the more useful if less showy pursuits of peace.

The county contains many relics that point back to the dawn of civilization in these islands : its ancient forts and camps belong to a time when history was yet unwritten. Its ruined castles and strongholds are intimately associated in song and story with the wild warfare of clannish and feudal days. Its abbeys, cathedrals, and other religious foundations are proof of its wide influence in the ecclesiastical affairs of a bygone age.

The regional characteristics of Forfarshire, ranging from the mountainous district of the Grampians in the north through the fertile plain to the alluvial and sandy shores of the Tay and the rockbound coast, with its marvellous caves between Arbroath and Montrose, provide the botanist and the geologist with an unusually varied field. Nor are its scenery and other kindred attractions any less diverse. The rocks and tarns, the corries and passes on its northern frontier attract the cragsman and the sportsman.

Its mineral wealth, though less by the absence of coal and iron deposits than several more favoured districts of Scotland, is very considerable, for its quarries yield a valuable supply of building stones and paving stones. But it is to the quality and abundance of its agricultural produce, and still more to the extent and pre-eminence of its textile manufactures that Forfarshire owes its importance in population and industry. Strathmore, a large part of which is within its boundaries, is one of the most fruitful farming districts in the country; and the linen and jute fabrics of Dundee and a whole circle of smaller towns in Angus find a world-wide market.

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