Dunnotar Castle, Scotland
Unbelievable! You could hear the audible gasps as the full extent of the castle came into view.Sited on an enormous flat-topped rock with sheer cliffs on 3 sides (OK, so couldn't see the third side:)) jutting into the sea, connected to the mainland by a narrow neck of land.
This 9th century fortress was once the most important in NE Scotland, held out against the might of Cromwell's army for 8 months in the 17th century and by doing so saved the Scottish Crown jewels (now In Edinburgh Castle) from destruction.
Because of its virtually impenetrable location, the castle itself is lacking the more usual massive ramparts and protecting walls. It is, with the exception of the Gate House and the approach up the flattened 'peak' of the rock, a series of ruined buildings (lodgings, stables, chapel etc...).
The location defies description, but it is dramatic enough for Zefferelli to have chosen it as the perfect film set for his version of 'Hamlet'.
And below it on either side are two rocky coves, the home of thousands of nesting sea-birds.
Glorious clifftop walk from the harbour in Stonehaven to the stunningly located Dunnotar Castle, approximately 2 miles away.
A few miles south of Aberdeen, Stonehaven is the jumping off point by train for Dunnotar Castle. Small fishing town.