Thursday, 18 April 2013

Dunnottar Castle

I love medieval castles, did I mention that? Like, a hundred times or so!? Well, I do! Yay! Castles! Aberdeenshire is full of castles, only not having a car, dire public transport, and the weather being awful has kind of stopped me from taking advantage of that since moving here. So, on my week off, Gav and I went for a little trip to Stonehaven to see Dunnottar Castle. Don't be fooled by these photos - the weather is still generally lacklustre, but it came out beautiful just for this one day. (Aberdeenshire apparently approves of my love for castles!)

Dunnotar is a couple of miles up the coast from Stonehaven, which is a cute fishing village apparently home to the original deep-fried Mars Bar. I did not sample one, sadly. I meant to, but completely forgot! I've been meaning to try one for years, but they're actually pretty hard to get hold of in most places - a lot of chip shops don't like wrecking their chip pans. I imagine melted chocolate isn't great for them...

Dunnottar's surviving buildings are mostly from the 15th Century, although use of the site possibly dates back further, and it's famous for once being the hiding place of the Scottish Crown Jewels.

We did a bit of a naughty, and went along the coastal path from Stonehaven to Dunnottar, even though it was officially closed. A very small section of the path has worn away, and closing it is obviously a sensible move, as the path is meant to be quite family friendly and would have been potentially unsafe for small kids, etc. We had a peek over the fence and decided we would be confident making a detour where the path was thin. As with everything, know your own limits and abilities and so on! We felt totally comfortable going along there, and couldn't resist the views. The road wouldn't have been half as awesome.

Jessica came with us, as the resident medieval ruins expert of the Blythes. Here, she surveys her domain. (Best not to correct the plastic ladies when they get delusions of grandeur.)

This is the Whig's Vault, where 165 Whig-sympathisers (anti-Royalist Covenanters rather than the political party) were imprisoned from the end of May until the end of June 1685. Creepiest part of the castle - it's a cramped, sloped room, and a lot of them died in there. Bit gruesome, really. (Something Scottish history can be relied upon to provide!)

Nothing is more delicious than the ruined remains of an arch. Here I am (goofy as ever) in what was the Smithy. Gavin did an excellent reenactment of a sword-forging. (I made sound effects.)

Wow, arches are magic. I love things that casually laugh in the face of gravity. (I am not one of those things. Gravity very definitely laughs at me.)

On the walk to Dunnottar, there's the Stonehaven war memorial, which is lovely. Here I am by the memorial wrestling with a wind-induced hair attack! Apparently, it is supposed to look ruined or unfinished, to reflect the unfinished lives of the people it is commemorating. A lovely - if completely heart-breaking - idea.

And finally, something we came across when we were looking for stones to skim, which made us laugh:

Thanks Aberdeenshire, for doing the sunny thing and letting us go outside and see pretty things! Not so much thanks for sunburning (!) me*, and definitely no thanks for now having gone straight back to grey and rainy. But still, I'll take what I can get.


a happy medieval castle'd alice

* I'm not pale, I'm an English rose, ok!?


  1. I want to go to there.

    This looks like a) an awesome place and b) a great day for it. Yay! Castles!

    1. Caaaastles! <3

      Aberdeenshire is SO nice, I feel bad that I just can't get behind it properly. I guess if it's not where you want to be, it's just not where you want to be. :/