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Old Newport



Newport-on-Tay in north Fife

Newport - on - Tay in North Fife was previously named New Dundee and was regarded as a fashionable place to reside by the wealthy Jute Barons of Dundee in the 19th century. Consequently this led to the village of Wormit being established as a commuter town and rail link between Newport - on - Tay and Dundee. Wormit also claims its place in history as the first village in Scotland to be powered by electricity. Today Newport-on-Tay and Tayport are ideal places to use as a base to explore North East Fife and Dundee area. The narrow country roads from Wormit lead to Balmerino with its ruined abbey, picnic area and wonderful views of the Tay. The Abbey was founded in 1229 and lies on the shores of the River Tay and was always a popular ferry crossing for pilgrims travelling between St. Andrews and Arbroath. In 1559 the Abbey was destroyed by the Reformers and eventually was taken under the wing of the present managers, the National Trust for Scotland, in 1936.


The River Tay divides the north coast of Fife from Angus and not surprisingly the coastal villages in North Fife operated a ferry service to and from Dundee. The villages of Tayport, originally named Ferryport-on-Craig, Newport-on-Tay and Woodhaven relied on the road, rail and ferry transport system for their very livelihood. The building of the Tay Rail Bridge in 1878 caused their very existence to be threatened. The opening of the Tay Road Bridge in 1966 brought them back to life again.

Running alongside the modern Rail Bridge are the stumps of the piers of the first bridge which collapsed in December 1879. That night as galeforce winds tore at the high girders of the bridge the northbound train set off for Dundee. It was to be a tragic journey, and as the bridge collapsed, the train plummeted into the River Tay killing all seventy five people on board. The new bridge was built in 1887 and was the longest bridge in the whole of Great Britain. Many of the victims of the Tay Rail Bridge Disaster are buried in the cemetery at the small village of Kilmany.

Scotscraig Estate, next to Tayport, belonged at one time to Archbishop Sharpe who was murdered on Magus Moor. The golf course at Scotscraig is probably second to none in the North Coastal area Fife.

Students of place-names will have observed that in this area, as indeed in the whole of Fife, the names are mostly of Gaelic origin, little changed phonetically from their form in the ancient tongue. The reason is that Gaelic was spoken in Fife long after it had passed out of use in most adjacent regions.

The drive from Newport-on-Tay, west to Newburgh makes for an excellent trip. The views of the River Tay, all the way up to Perth, and across to Dundee are panoramic. The narrow country road is not for the feint of heart and should be driven slowly and with great care.Explorers of this area will find ample reward in Newburgh, with ruins of the once famous Lindores Abbey, Lindores Loch with its trout fishing, ruined Ballinbreich Castle, Balmerino Abbey and much, much more.

"Forgan parish extends 4 miles in length by 2 in breadth, lying near the mouth of the Tay; having Ferryport-on-Craig on the east, Leuchars & Kilmany on the south and Balmerino on the west. The land generally declines to the Tay from an elevated background, and is now well cultivated, inclosed and beautifully wooded. On the shore is Newport where there is a small harbour and ferry station opposite to Dundee. Recently some handsome villas have been erected on the slopes to the river, and a new road cut to Ferryport-on-Craig. Forgan has a constant communication maintained with the Dundee side by ferry. The Kirk of Forgan, which is situate inland, is about 10 miles from Cupar and the like distance from St Andrews. About one mile west from Newport is the small harbour of Woodhaven." from Slater's Directory, published 1852.

Shoreline at Newport on Tay.

Newport is ideally located for easy trips to the St Andrews, Dunfermline, Culross, Perth, Edinburgh, Falkland Palace, and all of historic Fife and Perthshire. If you would like to visit this area as part of a highly personalized small group tour of my native Scotland please e-mail me:

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