Today I had the pleasant opportunity of witnessing the beauty and peace of Stonehaven, a small town neighbouring Aberdeen in Scotland. In all honesty I had no absolute clue as to where we were going, but I was lured in the plan by my parents as they promised my brother and I dinner at this well known seafood restaurant in the quaint town! I am also a sucker of historic findings so I looked forward to checking out the Dunnottar Castle.
We drove straight to where the captivating castle in ruins is situated, on a rocky hilltop about three kilometres south of Stonehaven itself, and overlooking the magnificent sea. The location is perfect for all those ace hikers who love a walk, as there is a lot of exploring to do aside from the Castle itself, with the beautiful sea shore where many a people go to sit and enjoy pensive time alone or in the company of others. Once arriving I felt at ease with nature; the buzzing bees,the wind soothing my face, the sound of the waves crashing against the shore and the rustling of leaves. It was also an educational trip in order to understand the importance of such a Castle. So whilst enjoying the calmness of my character due to all the surrounding nature, I walked along the different angles of the Castle and ruined chambers to get a gist of what life must have been like.
The castle has a long history, and the most notable tenure of the Castle was that of George Keith, the 5th Earl Marishal who put to good use the Castle and made it somewhat into a community of life. There was the added security of it being on a cliff which meant the inhabitants had the upper hand in case of an unexpected enemy attack. Life was buzzing in the Castle. Food was plentiful, with fresh fish from the sea and meat by the nearby Angus farm. Trade was also extremely prevalent as they were near the sea and ships easily brought back silks and spices. With all this information packed in my head I let loose my imagination which is always a nice pass time! The Castle was amongst the most trusted and sought after places to be, primarily because of its locale, therefore when Oliver Cromwell scouted to obtain the crown jewels of Scotland from Edinburgh, they were cleverly snuck away to Dunnottar Castle for safekeeping. It was not before 8 months that Cromwell was successful in besieging the Castle, that a bloody battle began, much to the surprise that the Jewels were hidden away by a loyal maid servant of the Castle and thus never got in the hands of Cromwell. This comes to show two interesting aspects of Dunnottar Castle; the terrific security that came as a result of the position of the Castle, which proved an impediment to the path of attackers, and the brilliant loyalty of the workers. All which made the Castle a unique place in itself!
After that fascinating experience my family and I headed out to Stonehaven town centre for a tour around the seaside town and dinner of course! We drove to the pier and walked around to see a very relaxed atmosphere. The weather was on our side and allowed us to have a far more superior experience, where the sun was brighter than most days! Dinner was exquisite at The Tolbooth, a well-known riverside seafood restaurant of Stonehaven that is visited by people around the globe and one of the many attractions of Scotland! I enjoyed the day’s special monkfish whilst my parents both ordered the sea bass, all fresh out of the sea! It was definitely a delight especially since I absolutely adore seafood, having just come back from Italy where I luckily had the opportunity to live and experience life for six months. The opportunity to sit by an amazing view of the pier was one the few highlights of our impromptu visit. Luckily we were given a table because most tables were reserved! One thing to mention especially is that if you do go to The Tolbooth the bread they serve before the meal arrives is delicious! They also have complimentary seafood starters, which were lovely!
Once the stomachs were pleasantly loaded up we walked around the bay and came across many interesting aspects of the town. There was a bench close by which was dedicated to an Artist that loved Stonehaven which was nice to see because it meant the town is much loved. We walked along the bay walk which had an almost photographic quality; it was that appealing. It was incredibly peaceful and the sea glistened from the reflection of the Sun. We arrived at the promenade and came across some beach side shops and restaurants, and had ice cream at a wonderful family run shop called Aunty Betty’s. The ice cream was light and tasteful, and the people were extremely friendly. The Sun was setting and it became a little chilly, so we sat and had ice cream in the car which was amusing because as we looked side to side we saw many families perched in their cars, having Aunty Betty’s ice cream!
Eight months ago I did not know I would get to see Scottish countryside at its best, but I came, and have grown extremely fond of Aberdeenshire for its fantastic seaside life. The eating out, the places to see, are all aspects you cannot miss about these Scottish highlands. If you are on a lookout for a Scottish holiday, I recommend you pay a visit to Aberdeenshire for the magnificent surroundings and nature to play with. I certainly enjoyed myself, and though I will be saying goodbye to Scotland for now, as I leave back to England in some days, I will come back to visit these places again, as they are a sight for sore eyes!