Exploring Scotland | A Day in Aberdeenshire
When it comes to Scottish tourism, I feel like Aberdeenshire tends to get a little bit overlooked – which is a shame, because, not only is Aberdeen a lovely city in itself, it’s also the perfect base for exploring the gorgeous little fishing villages and historic sites dotted around it: as we found out when we visited last week.
Once we’d checked into our hotel (The fabulous Sandman Signature, which I wrote about here), we decided to get our bearings with a short wander around the city. As is always the way with us, we had no real aim or destination in mind with this, but luckily the hotel was right in the centre of the city, which is pretty easy to walk around (Er, let’s not mention those flights of stairs Terry decided it would be perfectly fine to haul the stroller up and down…), so it was all good.
We were blessed with some absolutely beautiful weather for the duration of our stay, so naturally I’d packed a cute selection of jumpers and other cold-weather clothing for me and Max. Honestly, I have no excuse for this act of lunacy: I mean, I looked at the weather forecast before we left. I KNEW it was going to be warm. But still, a part of me just refused to believe it, which is why, the next time someone tries to tell me the north-east of Scotland is a cold place, I will laugh, then I will laugh some more. Then, the next time I go there, I’ll pack for a heatwave, and it’ll actually herald the start of a new ice-age or something, because so it always goes with me and packing.
(I mean, I think I thought I was being clever here, by packing light? Like, I took way, WAY too much stuff to Kent, on our last trip, so I figured I’d learn from that mistake, but, instead, I just went right ahead and made another one. HAPPY MEDIUM, AMBER. FIND IT. FFS.)
Anyway, seeing as I’ve just admitted to wearing the same t-shirt for three days in a row, because haha, that was the only one I brought with me, I’ll also just go ahead and admit something I WAS planning to just gloss over in this post, which is that, instead of seeking out an amazing little gem of a restaurant, serving up tasty examples of the local cuisine, we totally ended up eating in the local mall, Union Square:
In our defence, it was a really nice mall? Also in our defence, the night before our trip, I’d had a horrendous migraine, which had lingered on into the next day, and, at the point where we stumbled upon the mall, not only was Max due a feed, I was starting to feel kind of shaky and rough, so, I mean, I guess we could have kept on walking, in search of some appropriately-authentic restaurant, but, well, you try doing that with a hungry 8-month-old and a headache, and then get back to me…
(I didn’t buy anything in the mall, though. I am ready to receive my sainthood any time that’s convenient…)
Aberdeen is, as I said, a really lovely little city: I love the way the granite buildings give the place an almost “uniform” kind of look, and we also found it really picturesque, with lots of pretty parkland, and baskets of flowers everywhere. Our absolute favourite part of Aberdeen, however, would have to be Fittie – or Footdee, as it’s more correctly known – which is an old, planned fishing village next to the harbour (And which we actually visited the next day with the car, but which I’m slotting in here, just to confuse things):
The houses here are built in squares, with each house facing out onto its own little outbuilding or “tarry shed”. These would originally have been used for fishing equipment and the like, but, these days, they’ve taken on a life of their own, and it was obvious that the owners take a lot of pride in decorating them. Any one of them on their own would’ve been awesome, but, when you see them all together, it’s such an eclectic mix of styles that it gives the place an almost fairy-tale kind of feel. As I said to Terry, if the Harry Potter novels were real (And, spoiler alert: THEY ARE), I’d imagine Aberdeen’s wizarding community would totally be living in Fittie:
(Seriously, though: the green pointy one is definitely the Weasley’s holiday home, no? And I really hope that comes across as the compliment I intended…)
Anyway, back to day one again, and, once we’d eaten, and I was feeling a bit less awful, we walked back to the hotel to pick up the car, before heading back out of the city, and along the coast to Dunnottar castle, which had been recommended to us by a few people:
I mean, it’s not hard to see why people recommended it, huh? We didn’t make it to the castle itself: it’s located on a cliff, which is reached by a fairly treacherous looking path, and we figured that was probably something to save for a time when we’re NOT carrying a baby around. We did, however, take a walk up the cliffside opposite, and, well, if you’ve ever wondered what kind of idiots would try to push a stroller up a really steep hill, I’m happy to be able to provide you with the answer:
DESE IDIOTS. Who – yes! – are posing right next to a “DANGER: NO ACCESS!” sign, almost as if the internet is NOT full of people who will instantly want to point out how stupid we are! Don’t worry, though: we did not, in fact, attempt to access the part we were told not to access: we’re not THAT stupid. I mean, we’re plenty stupid, obviously, just not THAT much. (OH! says my shirt, as if to register its surprise at finding itself atop a cliff with a pushchair and a baby. OH, indeed, shirt…)
(Oh, and if you’ve ALSO been wondering what it might be like to change a poopy nappy on top of a cliff, it just so happens that I can answer that one too: it’s not much fun, really, but definitely MORE fun than changing it in a public bathroom would be. So, yeah: that’s how I spent my time at Dunnottar Castle, basically.)
(Aaaaand, here we are in a field! For no reason!)
We’d had a really full day at this point (Which had included the two-hour drive to Aberdeen itself), but we had one more stop planned, this time in the little coastal town of Stonehaven, which was so pretty that yes, I totally, looked up property prices there as soon as I got home:
I really loved Stonehaven: we stopped at one of the bars next to the harbour for a drink, and spent the best part of an hour sitting enjoying the still-warm sunshine, and watching the world go by. There was a nice buzz about the place, with lots of people out in boats, or walking dogs, and I can imagine it being a nice place to live, especially if you’re into fishing/sailing/drinking wine while watching other people do those things.
So! Once again, I’m going to have to end this post sooner than I’d planned, because while I had intended to cover both of our days in the north-east here, I was obviously forgetting just how much we managed to cram into those two days, so, yeah: yet ANOTHER post for another day. Stay tuned, folks…