of Scotland, Dunnottar Castle
imposing, on its cliff-top perch, 15 miles south of Aberdeen in
the Grampian Region, Dunnottar Castle is a breath-taking spectacle,
chosen as the location for the film of "Hamlet" starring
Mel Gibson. Between the 9th and 17th centuries the various
fortifications were fought over many times. For three centuries
the castle was held by the Keith family who were Grand Marischals
Events in Dunnottar's Past
In 1297 William Wallace
burned alive an English Plantaganet garrison which was holding
the castle. Much later, in 1562 and 1564, Mary Queen of Scots
visited Dunnottar. The safe keeping of the Scottish Crown Regalia
during the siege by Cromwell's Roundheads in 1650 is a famous
An event of a different kind occured in 1685, when 167 Covenanters
were imprisoned in terrible conditions. The Whigs vault where
these men and women were kept can be seen today as it was then.
After the Rebellion of 1715, the property was fortified and soon
fell into disrepair. Beginning in 1925, however, an ambitious
programme of restoration was undertaken by the first Viscountess
Cowdray. This work is responsible for the present state of the
castle, now maintained by the Dunecht Estates.
Places To Visit In This NE Region Of Scotland Include:
'Granite City', whose
speckled grey buildings overlook bustling fishing port and docks.
Art gallery focuses on 18th to 20th-century painting and sculpture.
Provost Skene's House, built 1545, has fine painted ceilings and
local museum. Science and technology discovery centre.
Shifting dunes border
miles of sandy beach, safe for swimming, from River Ythan to River
Don. A dozen burns trickle across sands, where birds and plants
bridge dates back 400 years. Scene of historic battle in the 17th
Massive bridge, completed
in 1329, spans 62ft in single arch. Bridge crosses deep pool of
river and is backed by woods. Closed to motor vehicles.
and Elrick Country Park
Park set in rolling countryside
of hills and moorland. Guided and marked walks, and picnic area.
Bronze Age enclosure,
over 100ft wide, with external bank and enclosed ditch. It surrounds
central stone, a later addition, carved with Pictish symbols.
Community for people
with special needs has workshops producing goods such as soft
toys, furniture, metalwork and weaving. Shop sells wholemeal bread,
cakes and coffee.
White cottages perch
on cliff tops descending steeply to a craggy bay. short walk along
coast leads to Trelong Bay, where kittiwakes and fulmars nest
in grass-covered cliffs. Remains of ancient church survive from
Grey-stone houses stand
above caves once used by smugglers. Sheltered harbour supported
thriving fishing industry. St Catharines Dub, a rocky headland,
takes name from Spanish galleon wrecked there in 1594.
Road from village approaches
harbour set in cliffs. Fishing boats moor here and salmon nets
are hung to dry.
Woollens Visitor Centre
Mill by River Don in
Aberdeen has award-winning museum and visitor centre. Cloth, wool
and ready-made clothes for sale. Fishing and riverside walks.
Gardens have extensive
collec-tions of shrubs, alpine plants, heather and succulents.
Rock and water gardens.
Bronze Age stone circle,
30ft across, with eight boulders around its circumference. Within
circle are number of excavated burial chambers.
Rough road from village
leads to cliff-top walk, where views look over to Cammachmore
Bay. Steep path descends to rocky cove.
Antique furniture and
paintings enrich castle's interior. Home of Irvine family since
1323, its original keep adjoins Jacobean mansion, built 1619.
Extensive grounds border old forest of Drum, where rhododendrons
bloom beneath ancient oak and yew trees.
Steep path from beach
climbs solitary rock, crowned by dramatic castle ruin. Cromwell's
troops captured this Royalist stronghold after months of siege
in 1652. Little-changed dungeon housed 167 covenanters in 1685.
Park of 50 acres has
floral displays in all seasons, including spectacular 'rose mountain'.
Children's play area includes trampolines.
Incised symbols and carved
relief work cover two Pictish stones in St Fergus churchyard,
to the north. Standing stone circle, 60ft in diameter, lies 2
Good walk from village
leads through fish-farm research station to two rocky coves, and
on round cliffs to Portlethen village.
Two miles of cliffs echo
with the calls of kittiwake and guillemot pairs that arrive for
summer breeding season. Path to reserve leads from Crawton village.
Robert Burns memorial
cairn lies in scattered parish surrounded by wooded hills. Nearby
churchyard holds ornate tombs.
Highlanders Regimental Museum
Museum has many relics
of regiment, first raised by Duke of Gordon in 1794.
Woodland walks span 180
acres rich with wild flowers and plants. Picnic areas and playground.
Fine gardens enclose
mansion, designed by William Adam in 18th century for Earl of
Aberdeen. Antique works of art, books and ceramics adorn rich
interior. Nature trail skirts forest clearings, where roe deer
Ruin of powerful fortress
dating from 14th century can be seen from road. Old residence
of Keith family, Earls of Kintore.
Largest park in Aberdeen,
contains extensive woodland and well-tended rose, heather and
azalea gardens. Children's corner has chickens, lambs and rabbits.
Walk-in aviary. Adventure play-ground and bumper-car track. Impressive
maze has over a mile of twisting paths.
Site of Battle of Barra
fought between Robert Bruce and John Comyn in 1307. Comyn is thought
to have camped in Pictish fort on hill. Fine views from hill over
the Garioch basin.
Town museum displays
local archaeological and geological finds, including arrowheads,
stone axes and flint knives. In cemetery is SOft mound, the Bass,
site of Norman castle. Brandsbutt Stone bears Pictish symbols.
Seventeenth-century Scottish poet, Arthur Johnston, was born at
Caskieben Castle -- now part of Keith Hall.
Ruin of parish church,
built in 16th century, retains ornate details. Unusually designed
sacrament house dates from 1524.
External stone stairs
enhance elegant town house, built 1737. Old bell chimes in house
clock tower with original slate roof. Early Pictish stone stands
in churchyard. Well-preserved Balbithan House lies in quiet dell
to the north-east, across River Don.
Nursery rhyme and fairy-tale
characters greet visitors, young and old, to make-believe garden
world of Storybook Glen. Tropical palms and waterfalls enhance
village, dating from 19th century. To north, coast has spectacular
rock formations including stacks and deep caverns.
Fine plaster-work distinguishes
Great Hall of 17th-century castle. Smugglers' tunnel, now blocked,
once led to Gin Shore Cove.
Ruined tower remains
from Earl of Erroll's fortress, set above shingle beach. James
VI had it destroyed in 1594 after learning of the Earl's plot
to land Spanish troops on Scottish coast.
Formal gardens established
in 1675 with central fountain, pavilions and sundials, all laid
out in four great rectangles. Box hedges form elaborate designs
and Latin mottoes. Museum of Farming Life includes furnished farmhouse.
Once-busy fishing village
is now community for people employed in Aberdeen. Steep road leads
to small cove, hemmed in by cliffs.
Cathedral founded in
1131, though main part of building dates from 15th century. West
front has twin towers. Painted wooden heraldic nave, dated 1520,
is in use as parish church.
New town, with amusement
park and beach, dominates old town of fishermen's cottages by
harbour. Local exhibits found in 16th-century Tolbooth Museum,
where Episcopal clergymen were imprisoned in 1748. Panoramic view
from war memorial on hill.
Gothic and Renaissance
styles evident in fine altar-tomb of William Forbes, resident
of nearby Tolquhon Castle in 16th century. Tomb lies in Tarves
Impressive, pink sandstone
castle ruins, set in wooded glen. Large quadrangular mansion,
built by William Forbes adjoins keep, dating from 15th century,
called Preston Tower. Two round towers with grated windows stand
beside remains of gate-house with ornate gunports.
Work of Scottish artists,
including prints, paintings, ceramics and glass, exhibited in
changing programme. Sculptures are displayed in garden.
Above village is Udny
Castle, tower house dating from 14th century, crowned by ornamental
turrets. Churchyard has stone and slate 'morthouse', built 3832,
to protect unburied dead from clutches of resurrectionists.