Craigievar falls into the iconic category.
So iconic that in 7 years living down the road in Aberdeen and countless visits to the city over 50+ years, I’d not been the castle.
In August 11 I laid the ghost.
It is set in the loveliest Aberdeenshire countryside - upland farms, low hills, woods. Then you come upon this pink edifice like a screen set from a Disney movie.
The interior does not disappoint. I got a real sense of the history of the place, and the guide was excellent.
The grounds looked wonderful too, but it was an unseasonably cold day so we just made a dash for the car heater after the tour of the castle.
£27 for 2 adults & 2 teenagers.
Alford AB33 8JF
More mainstream “Royal Deeside” than Craigievar, probably I’d avoided it all these years for just that reason and because everyone tells me I must see it.
It has commercial feel to it - a gift shop, a cafe, and they had a bridal party there just to take “nice” photos. Oh, and an operatic group singing from Carmen on the lawns as they warmed up for the evening’s outdoor performance.
I was very impressed with the gardens.
The cost was £27 for 2 adults and 2 teenagers, plus £2 for parking.
The track runs parallel to Auchiries Road, a small minor road which connects to the main Peterhead/Aberdeen road. We sometimes walk this road which passes by Craighead caravan park, but more usually we walk the track. The track is a pleasant walk through open countryside and passes by Errolston Riding stables. There is little traffic here - there are only three houses and one farm with a bit of distance between them - so only local traffic but on many a walk I have hardly given way to any. You can take a short walk here or a longer one, the track mirrors the road and goes all the way to the main Aberdeen Road - the closer you get the more you hear the traffic!! I like to wander here at a leisurly pace, say hello to the horses and see the beauty that some careless gardener has thrown away.
This is a small coastal woodland hugging the North East Coast. It is unusual because it survives the damaging effects of salt air and harsh winter winds the trees you are likely to encounter here are broad leaf trees, mainly sycamore, beach, oak and ash.
It is privately owned and some what neglected, but you are free to walk here anytime, Scotland has a right of access for anyone to any where but I do object to people using scrambler bikes and quads here, this makes for muddy condition's for walkers and does nothing for the exposed roots.
The Wood Lands Trust have been trying to get ownership in order to look after the woodland and conserve it for the future, but so far the owners have not sold the woods. I often walk my dog here in the woodlands of Cruden Bay and only hope it survives and brings pleasure to ramblers and nature lovers for years to come. I have updated some photos from my most recent walk here - Late spring into early summer sees the woods really come alive.
Dunnotar Castle, 15 miles south of Aberdeen at Stonehaven. It is a sensational ruined castle spread out a grassy promontory rising 45m above the sea, originally from the 9th Century and is where Mel Gibson played Hamlet in the film. The Scottish Crown Jewels were hidden here from Oliver Cromwell and the story can be found on display at Edinburgh Castle
Regular buses and trains to Stonehaven from Aberdeen and the South.
Phone for opening details
Its "off the beaten track" now because the main road into Aberdeen from the south bypasses it.
The town is only 15 minutes from the city. Its on the coast, with a decent beach and harbour. Good place to go for a big gulp of fresh North Sea air (that'll put hairs on your chest), a walk, and maybe a drink and some food!
Its a small place, and largely a "dormitory" for Aberdeen now. Not so long ago it was based on farming and fishing, and was the county town for Kincardine - one of Scotland's smallest counties. I think they abolished the county in 1975.
Town also has a (heated) outdoor swimming pool. Those familiar with the rigours of the climate of the north east of Scotland will appreciate the utter futility of this facility.
The little shops in the village are all on Main Street, a short little street, where the Cruden Burn runs through. We don't have a lot of shops, we only have four, but it is enough for locals and tourists alike = yes we do get tourists here mostly in the Summer months. The little gift shop is the newest addition to the village it sells local paintings - gifts and sovenirs. Small village Post Offices are under threat of closure - I do hope we get to keep ours, if it closed I would have to go to our nearest town which is eight miles away just to post a postcard overseas. I don't shop much in the village, prices are a bit on the high side, but I do like to use them occasionally. Shopping locally keeps a village alive and it is usually in such places you can catch up with the local news with the shopkeepers BTW if you are a tourist stop by even if it is just for some information or directions - they will be happy to help you!
I love this part of my home village although still in Cruden Bay it is also known by its much older name of Port Erroll. The houses run along one side of the street with their gardens positioned accross the road, there is no room for gardens to the rear of the properties, here you will find more cute cottages set in tiny uphill streets. Being a keen gardener myself I like to take an interest in other peoples gardens, the ones in the pictures are probably my favourites. There are no harsh colours here, houses are mostly subtle pale colours and the gardens mostly have a seafairing theme. My favourite house here is the first one in my pictures, called the Lang Hoose but unfortunately for me it isn't up for sale!
Although the Golf Club is for members only, you have the right to walk here if you wish. I don't play golf but often walk on the course with my dog (you must clean up after them if they foul the grass or paths). The access law is different in Scotland than in England and Wales - here you have the right to walk on most land. A pleasant, if somewhat dangerous place, watch out for the stray golf balls, stick to the paths, enjoy the sea air and the great views. The club house is very modern and has the best views of the beach, we sometimes come here for a meal on a staff night out, it is no problem for non members to visit = most members will be happy to sign you in as their guest = just ask.
There are two beaches here in Cruden Bay a little one and a big one seperated by the Water of Cruden, a small burn which flows into the North Sea. This is one of my favourite walking spots, the beach is a mile and a half long so provides a great three mile walk on its pale coloured soft sand. Cross the little wooden bridge named Ladies Bridge and go for a walk in all seasons. I love the sea with its ever changing vista, its spectacular changes in colour all influenced by the weather. I have seen many beaches on my travels, but the one in my home village, with its solitude and changing mood will always remain my favourite.
If you want to see more on Cruden Bay visit the web site
Update just to say I have updated some photos and we got a beach award this year which means the beach is clean and so is the sea = good news indeed.
When we first moved to the village of Cruden Bay the area behind our street was home to a brick making factory known as Cruden Bay Brick & Tile Company. There was a huge brick chimney and red brick buildings scarred the landscape around here. This closed down completely around twenty years ago. The deep clay pits which were left behind have over time collected enough rain water to produce a beautiful little loch complete with a sweet island in the middle - a perfect habitat for ducks and swans. Here you can walk amongst the many wildflowers through long grass (there are no paths) till your hearts content. Local plans are for more housing here - but some one is already in residence - a badgers set has been located - this is a protected animal here in Scotland so hopefully the badger will stay and no houses will appear here to spoil the tranquility.
Crathes Castle is just outside Aberdeen (west, I believe). The owner and his wife run the place, and their two daughters are waitresses in the restaurant. I had an excellent lunch there, served by one of the pretty daughters. She told me a bit about the famous ghosts that supposedly haunt the place. More can be found here:
The enclosed gardens are very nice.
To get there, take the A93 from Aberdeen, heading towards Banchory.
I often walk on Ward Hill with my dog, to see the cliffs rise from the sea, watch the seas energy as it crashes on the rocks, to feel and taste the salt water on my face as it is carried through the air by strong sea breezes, definately a place to wake me up. The walk can take a long time, as you stop many times to ponder nature and the sounds and sights of the sea. Ward Hill is marshy moorland and I often spot grouse here when Shannon startles them from there hiding places in the grass marshes. In Spring time wild flowers bloom on the hill and on the rocks and cliffs, my favourites are the Sea Pinks. A good place to walk and unwind.
The woods are often very wet & muddy with only a narrow walking path used by horse riders & dog walkers like me. Fortunately for Mother Nature most people stick to the path (except my dog - she doesn't know the country code!) so the wild flowers are left to show off in peace.
Slains Castle sits high up on the sea cliffs and is said to be the place which inspired Bram Stoker to write the classic novel Dracula. Whitby in England has the same claim, but no matter, it is a place where I walk often. It has stood as a ruin for many years, the inside is quite fascinating a bit like walking through history, a place where you can dream and relax.