One last Scotland post (for now…I did manage one more trip to Edinburgh but that’s a ways off), and it’s all about my favorite place.
When I found out I’d be moving up to Aberdeen for a bit, Erin sent along some information she’d picked up in her Scotland blog reading–there happen to be quite a few wives of oil workers who end up in Aberdeen blogging. She had read about a town called Stonehaven that was really close to Aberdeen that sounded nice and had an apparently amazing ice cream shop. I heard the same from people at work, a flatmate, and a Tinder date. So I figured this Stonehaven place was worth a shot. I have never been so happy that I took in suggestions. I have been really lucky and been able to go to a bunch of pretty cool places. Stonehaven is still my favorite.
Getting to Stonehaven from Aberdeen is crazy easy. There are buses, but I took the train since I apparently understand trains better than buses. It’s only one stop away and the journey is only about 15 minutes. The train station is a little bit of a walk from the town center (I’d say at most it’s like a 20 minute walk, but I don’t even think it’s quite that far), and I was a little confused when I first got in, but I just followed all the other people heading towards town. Along the way, I passed a chip shop boasting that it was the birthplace of the deep fried Mars bar. I’ve just done a Google search on them and apparently that banner of theirs has caused quite a stir. I did not have a Mars bar.
I was told there is a cliffside walk you can do, that leads to a castle. I looked it up before going and was stupidly relying on my phone maps to guide me to it. But small town Scotland is not kind to phone signals! Fortunately, the UK seems well-equipped to handle tourists, and there was a tourist information centre, where I was able to pick up a real map and have someone point out where I needed to go.
At first, the route took me along the beach, which was charming.
Near the harbor, the path went behind some houses and started climbing. I soon found myself walking through open fields, towards the Black Hill War Memorial. If you’re paying attention, you can see it from the train/bus, all alone on the top of the hill. It’s a quiet spot, and the memorial is supposed to look a little bit like an old ruin, unfinished like the lives of those it was built for.
Continuing on from the Memorial, the walk leads through some more field-like area, before just becoming a path on the edge of a cliff. It is beautiful. I did the to and from walk twice and took so many pictures and they don’t even do it justice. These pictures are only a few of the bajillions I have and I can’t even pick which ones to show you. I even met some cows along the way.
The path leads to Dunnottar Castle, and even given my generally “meh” feelings towards castles, this one is a gem. It’s a ruin, but it is on top of a cliff that juts out into the North Sea, surrounded by water on 3 sides. It is epic.
There is a road to the Castle area, and a car park a little ways away, but that is cheating and completely missing out on the amazing walk. I spent a lot of time walking around the Castle grounds and in the area around it just…looking. And the first time I went, there was a man in a kilt playing bagpipes, making it the most Scottish thing I have ever witnessed.
After wandering the Castle and walking the cliff path back into town, I was pretty hungry. I had been told about a good fish and chip place down at the beach, so I followed the beach until I reached The Bay. You guys. The fish and chips at this place. So good. I don’t know what they do but. So so good. I ate all the fish and all the chips and THEN I went next door for ice cream at Aunty Bettys, the ice cream shop Erin had told me about. I ate too much Scottish tablet ice cream and was happy but oh so full. Everything was so perfect.
I visited Stonehaven a second time a few weeks later, when Charlie came to visit. We had time to kill before her flight back down to London so we just hopped a train down for the afternoon. It was still just as magical the second time, and I’m really happy I was able to go back.