After drying out from a very wet day and following it up with a good night’s sleep and a very hearty breakfast, it was off to the train station to catch a ride to Aberdeen. Our journey took us back West a little, across the Firth of Tay and up the East coast.
Aberdeen is known as the “Granite City”. Granite is grey. The sky was grey. The buildings were grey. The people weren’t grey, but there wasn’t a whole lotta colour. So – grey, grey, grey. Depressing as hell, hence the title.
This was, however, where we were picking up the car, so we kinda had to be there. The car rental was about a half hour walk, and we picked up a Renault something or other (it’s blue, and funny looking, and has electronic everything), and we were off.
First stop was Dunnotar Castle South of Aberdeen on the coast. Dunnotar was amazing – it’s a huge ruin perched on a rock outcropping surrounded by water on three sides, with a fairly narrow path connected to the mainland. The tide was coming in, so the sound of the surf and the gulls created a close-to-perfect feel for what Scotland was all about. The castle has some nasty history, but was a great side trip.
We then headed west to Craigevar castle 20 miles west of Aberdeen. This castle was lived in up until 1964, and is in close to perfect shape. The outside wasn’t much to look at, but the interior, with it’s detailed plaster, period furniture, and the Queen’s room, was well worth the trip.
By that time it was getting a little late in the afternoon, so we decided to make our way to the next hotel – the Dowan’s in Aberlour. Our route took us through some of the countryside you see in any movie showing Scotland, with rolling hills, narrow winding roads, mist/fog, sheep, and rock walls that look the several centuries old the are. Karen was driving like a local, and for the most part I got us where we were going in a direct route. A beautiful drive through some of the most breathtaking scenery I’ve ever experienced.
The hotel we were staying in was a great older building with a nice bar and restaurant, which we took in for a drink and dinner. Dinner for me was a chicken breast stuffed with haggis in a whiskey cream sauce. It was followed with a lemon meringue roulade, a couple pints, and a good night’s sleep.
So Aberdeen was grey, and Aberdeenshire was gorgeous. Another great day.