Category Archives: Scotland

Photo Tour: Stonehaven

Photo Tour: Stonehaven

 

Saturday, June 7

Our waitress from the night before advised us to catch a train to Stonehaven, a coastal village with, that’s right, a castle! We received this suggestion with relief, since our only alternatives at that point involved either paying a taxi or daring to maneuver on the opposite side of the road.

14-DSC_0004

The same train station that welcomed us to Aberdeen. The tracks run alongside a breathtaking coast of rocks, waves, and sheeps!

16-DSC_0035

The little town of Stonehaven boasts a beach along with its castle. “Mostly people come for the castle,” the information center attendant shrugged.

15-DSC_0023

Providentially and with no planning on our part, we arrived on the day when the town also offered its local fair. The girls’ performance reminded me of our Highland Dancers, of course.

17-DSC_0043

After munching on shortbread and admiring the dancers at the fair, we embarked on the 2 mi trek to Castle Dunnottar.

18-DSC_0051

I could have stopped for a photo at every curve in the road.

19-DSC_0065

In case you were wondering, I did indeed purchase those pants in Turkey.

Castle Dunnottar: famed for visitors including Mary, Queen of Scots, and (according to legend) William Wallace. We reached it by way of a concrete staircase, which left us pondering how people had scaled the cliffs in the Middle Ages. An information center inside suggested the answer with this factoid: Ponies would carry supplies up the hillside to stock the cellars and furnish the dinner table of the owner (Earl Marischal)’s powerful family.

20-DSC_0091

Stephanie and I poked our heads into almost every nook and cranny. Deep shadows cloaked surprisingly small rooms; one regarded the lonely fireplaces and imagined sleeping there in winter.

21-DSC_0092

The chapel. In a dungeon nearby, the castle imprisoned almost 200 religious dissenters, who refused to acknowledge the king as head of the church, for weeks in the damp and dirt (1685).

22-DSC_0105

My iconic Scottish picture. Perhaps someone who has attempted the bagpipes could explain how this gentleman managed to play ceaselessly while thanking me out of the side of his mouth?

On the way back down the mountain, we stopped to pay our respects at the War Memorial. Which war? “All of them.”

23-DSC_0116

According to the inscription, the soldiers of Stonehaven laughed in the face of Death’s challenge.

25-DSC_0123

Nothing I’ve seen could compare with the view on the way to the castle, but we needed a breather after that hike!

26-DSC_0127

Facing the memorial, the town behind me

27-DSC_0129

Facing the memorial, the sea behind me

28-DSC_0134

Our stomachs demanded we sample the local cuisine: cullen skink! Although the name suggests an odorous vampire, the dish actually consisted of cream soup with smoked haddock. With the sea air in our noses and Scottish brogue in our ears, we had never tasted finer.

13-DSC_0138

Away across the Atlantic, I find myself thinking of friends at unexpected moments

Photo Tour: Downtown Aberdeen

Photo Tour: Downtown Aberdeen

Once I humbled myself to look His way, I found God smiling on our trip. Our searching for activities online had proved about as effective as applying to an online dating service, so we hit the road to see what we would see.

01-DSC_0058

Department stores sell ladies’ hats in the UK! This specimen won for originality.

04-DSC_0125

Seagulls, pigeons, and grave monuments populate the cemetery of St. Nicholas Kirk

05-DSC_0175

Inside St. Nicholas. (So, if ‘Kirk’ means ‘church,’ then “Russell Kirk” means… little red church?)

06-DSC_0200

View from Union St. Aberdeen’s skyline invigorates my soul.

09-DSC_0248

Spires everywhere!

07-DSC_0205

Penelope, Odysseus’ faithful wife, from our favorite room in Aberdeen’s Art Gallery

08-DSC_0223

On the art curator’s recommendation, we dined on mussels and plaice at the Rock & Oyster. 5 stars and all our gratitude to our waitress, who played travel agent for us and wrote up a list of must-see sites in the area.

10-DSC_0258

In case you can’t decipher it through the glare, that’s an ostrich. In a kilt. Welcome to Scotland!

02-DSC_0114

Father’s Day is coming soon…

11-DSC_0272

An illustration of my role within the family

12-DSC_0274

Sometimes they cooperate!

Today we caught a train into London; we depart for the States early tomorrow morning. Stay tuned for more photos.

Surprised in Scotland

Surprised in Scotland

1-DSC_0018Yesterday I couldn’t have been happier to find myself in Scotland. Our train snaked along cliffs and coastline to deliver us to a pleasant apartment nestled near the Aberdeen’s heart. Early that morning, Daddy and I sallied forth to secure breakfast from a local bakery. The lady sold us meat pies and threw in directions to a cafe for free. Note that the Scots do in fact employ the word “wee” as part of their daily vocabulary.

The day’s drizzle didn’t faze me; rather, the granite peaks fading into the mist harmonized with my aesthetic. For lunch, my parents enjoyed the nostalgia of street-side bratwursts. “It tastes better because you’re outside walking in the cold.”

By late afternoon, my euphoria hit turbulence. Read the rest of this entry