By Kingfisher Visitor Guides
Ged Grimes travels the world as a bass player with Simple Minds, but when he goes home it’s to Dundee, the city of his birth. As part of Dundee group Danny Wilson he had top 10 hits in the 1980s as well as a top 5 hit in the US with Mary’s Prayer. He has also written music for computer games, and is well-placed to do so with Dundee the UK’s centre of that industry. A keen cyclist (he sometimes cycles between destinations while on tour!) he loves to explore Dundee, Angus, and Perthshire on two wheels.
Where is home and why?
Home is Dundee. I lived away in Spain for a few years, but when I returned I found that the city I had always loved had become an optimistic, inspirational, creative community, embracing change and looking to the future.
What are your first memories of exploring the area?
I used to be a bit of a twitcher, and would explore the outskirts of Dundee. In places such as the Dighty Burn and Valley I was amazed at the variety of birds and wildlife that existed so close to the city. With Dundee and Angus being on the sea, there were so many areas to see bird life and even looking over to Fife in areas like Wormit Bay. It was always so easy to get to the coast and into the countryside of Angus and Perthshire, that even when I was a child I recognised Dundee was situated in a unique location.
What’s your favourite way to spend a night out in the area?
I would start with a walk along the Grassy Beach. Then I would head into Broughty Ferry for a drink, maybe the Fisherman’s Tavern where the real ale selection is second to none. Then I would go on to eat dinner – I love tapas so would suggest that friends join us at Sol Y Sombra.
Favourite place to eat?
Too many! There are new places opening up every week. To get away from the city it’s easy to find great country pubs throughout the whole area, but if I was staying closer to home, I like The Bach in Dundee for a Kiwi-style lunch. Forgan’s in Broughty Ferry is a welcome addition to the already good selection there. Collinsons is another favourite of mine there.
For me that has to be Clarks on Lindsay Street. As a musician I love how it supports all kinds of music and always offers great quality. It’s also a great community venue and has good fun quizzes and clubs. I also have a soft spot for The Clep Bar, which is a bit outside the city centre but is a real slice of tradition – a real Dundee institution.
Best place for a first date?
Again, in the Angus towns and Perthshire villages there are so many little pubs and restaurants with real character. It all depends if you want to drive! In Dundee, I would choose a drink and film at the DCA, then maybe some food in the Jute café. And if the date goes really well, a room at the Perth Road’s beautiful boutique hotel, Taypark House.
I’ve cycled across most of Europe but some of the routes around this area are may absolute favourites. One is cycling up Carrot Hill to Glamis on the quietest roads you will find, then through the beautiful Angus countryside to a magical wee cafe called The Little Bear at Lintrathen Loch. It has exquisite cakes and scones with home-made local raspberry jam. Once fuelled up again, head back to Dundee via Meigle and Newtyle and into the Sidlaw hills overlooking Dundee. That’s more than 50 miles of rolling hills and barely a car in sight.
That’s an easy one. Crossing the Tay Road Bridge when the sun is setting to the west. Just stunning.
I don’t get a chance to shop very often but when I do I head into Dundee city centre for three things. I go to Rainbow Music to see what new instruments they have in and enjoy the banter. Then I head along to Groucho’s Records.They have been stocking the best in rare vinyl for 40 years – when it was in and out of fashion. Finally, it has to be Braithwaite’s, not only a landmark on Castle Street but the source of the best freshly roasted coffee I’ve ever bought.
Which building would you like to buy?
The Waterfront in Dundee is undergoing so much development that finally we can take advantage of the amazing river view. So… I’d like to buy some really funky shipping containers, locate them on City Quay and transform them into a place where cyclists and walkers could stop off for a proper break with great coffee and homemade scones!
If you wanted to show a visitor the essence of the area, where would you take them?
It would take a long time to show all the different amazing aspects of Dundee, Angus and Perthshire. For the city perspective, I would take them to the top of the hill called the Law to see that glorious view of Dundee and the river. I would take them into one of Perthshire’s beautiful woodlands, maybe The Hermitage at Dunkeld, then over to an Angus Country Park such as Monikie or Crombie. I would head back to Broughty Ferry to spot dolphins at the beach then end the day back in Dundee in the Cultural Quarter for music, theatre and great food and drink.
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