Sun shining, didn't rain all day, great, I could count these days on one hand I think.
Before we left Aberdeen, we headed down to the pier to see an area called Footdee. This is a very old part of Aberdeen on the waterfront and contains an area of very small houses, almost all of which have either a lovely flower garden or a garden or house front decorated with garden ornaments. That could be anything from dwarfs, mercats, dolphins to a large wooden bear offering high fives. Very quaint area and at 9:00am, we hardly saw a soul. The houses wouldn't work for me I'm afraid, I'd be continually hitting my head entering and leaving and who knows how low the ceiling would be. I had enough problems the other night when we had an attic room with a sloping ceiling.
On the road and heading south along the coast line we passed through Stonehaven. NIce little town and from there we detoured out past Dunnottar Castle but to get there, the GPS again decided that a single lane road would be the quickest to get there. I didn't wake up to its decision until we arrived with a right turn onto a road we could have taken from Stonehaven. This castle, again, is different in its construction. Lesson number one in castle building said you had to do everything to make your castle as impregnable as possible. How about building on a piece of land that has steep cliffs that fall 50 metres into the North Sea for over 75% of its circumference and the remainder has only a very steep and narrow access. You don't even need to build a surrounding wall. Built from about the 14th century, most of the surviving buildings date from around the 15th and 16th centuries.
Continuing on, the family historian directed us to the area of Arbuthnott, and Arbuthnott House, the seat of the Viscount of Arbuthnott. It appears that the ancestors of my maternal Grandmother are believed to have come from there. Took a look around the area, visited the Arbuthnott Kirk and KIrkyard to check out the graves, and took a coffee at The Grassic Gibson Centre, a tribute to a famous Scottish author.
Following the coast south then west to Brechin for a visit to the Cathedral and Round Tower. The Round Tower is an interesting building. Built around 1100, it is believed to have been a bell tower and a place of refuge when the town was attacked. The tower is 32 metres and 6 floors tall. As a place of security, it is interesting to see the tapered doorway about 2 metres above ground level, thus making it much more difficult to attack and easier to defend. The tower was absorbed into the new cathedral in the 13th century.
We drove across to the town of Glamis, the location of Glamis Castle, the home of the Queen Mother when she was young. Not wanting to tour the castle just to do a drive past, we were disappointed to find we could not get even a glimpse without paying the entry fee of $21 each so we gave it a miss. Nice drive though.
Into Dundee and our accommodation and after a protest, we were upgraded to a much better room. I had already put the bags backs in the car.
We headed out for an exploration of the city and made the first stop on the docks at the historic frigate, The Unicorn. A warship built in peacetime in 1824 was a frigate but never actually rigged for sailing. Having never sailed, she was still in good condition and in 1960 she was converted to a museum and floats at the dockside. She is the oldest vessel of its type. Then it was into the centre of the city and discovered the biggest mall I have ever seen. Probably four or five blocks long with a number of other streets adjoining at right angles also being further malls. There is a beautiful stone building fronting a square in the mall. Built between 1914 and 1923, Caird Hall is the city's concert hall.
Tomorrow we head to Edinburgh for a couple of nights.
(I've added a picture of the Glendruidh House Hotel to the photos for day 49.)