THE WORLD’S fifth oldest golf club fears its anniversary celebrations will be spoiled after an illegal traveller camp sprang up next to the 450-year-old site.
Angus Council has served a 48 hour eviction on the group who pitched six caravans on Montrose Links, but the travellers say they will be staying put.
The course will be visited tomorrow by top female golfer Catriona Matthew who is due to hit the first shot on the club’s newly lengthened 450-yard 11th hole.
Montrose Links secretary Claire Penman said: “Our first port of call was to phone the police and Angus Council.
“We get travellers arriving at the course two or three times a year and it always seems to be when we have events on.
“Catriona is coming on Friday but hopefully they will be away by then although I’m not optimistic.”
She added: “They are 300 yards away but for anyone using the car park I can understand it probably isn’t the best impression to give.”
But the travellers, who are from south-west England, say they are causing no harm.
One said: “We are just passing through. They slapped a 48-hour eviction notice on the caravan today but we will be staying until Sunday.
“We are quiet people. We bag up our rubbish and we will be taking it with us.”
A spokeswoman for Angus council said: “We are aware of the encampment in Montrose and will continue to monitor the situation in line with our policies and procedures.”
Former open champion Matthew will also be holding ‘golf clinics’ at the course, as well as hitting the first shot across the new hole.
She said in a blog post: “I am excited to be opening the newly lengthened hole at Montrose.
“I used to play Montrose when I was an amateur and won the Munros trophy on a few occasions.”
Travellers frequently pass through the Angus town.
In 2010 a council plan to set up barriers around Montrose Links to prevent travellers invading was put on hold.
The £54,000 scheme would have come from the town’s common goods fund, which meant some residents were reluctant to go ahead with it.
Residents have called for another traveller site to be set up in Angus, but £1 million has already been spent upgrading another site on the outskirts of Montrose.