Several months ago when we started the planning of this trip we soon discovered that many of the places we wanted to go to were not linked by rail. Not a problem, we thought, we'll take a bus.
We soon discovered an eBook Guide called, "How to Travel Aberdeenshire by Bus"
, by Marisa Vogiatzi.
A non-driving student at Aberdeen University she wrote it as a survival guide to other non-drivers in Scotland. Since then she has graduated and publishes other guides and a blog on Solo Traveling, a younger, and prettier, Rick Steves!
After Balmoral's success we were off to explore Stonehaven. This picturesque yet somewhat quirky seaside village, 40 minutes from Aberdeen, was enchanting.
It offered us a walk on the pebble strewn beach.
Down a well designed boardwalk with protective, art decorated, Rip-Rap on one side....
... and manicured gardens on the other.
Being, lunch-o'clock, we spotted Seafood Bothy.
The word Bothy comes from the Gaelic word for a little hut, or in today's thinking, more like a Tiny House.
As we waited for lunch, several boats returned with thier catch, lunch would certainly be fresh!
Before lunch we talked about hiking taking the cliff trail to the ruins of Dunnottar Castle.
But, less than 5 minutes later we were feasting on the fresh North Sea seafood. We split, two crab tacos and a lobster and prawn burrito.
As you can guess with full stomachs all we wanted is a nap, not a hike. So, we loaded on the bus back to Aberdeen with thoughts of when we could return.
Two days later we loaded back aboard the bus to Stonehaven. After a hearty breakfast of porridge, we were ready for the castle.
Over 440 Million years ago the rock on which the Castle stands called conglomerate known as "pudding stone" was forced to the surface of the earth. Since 5000 BC, Picts, Saints, Kings, and Conquerors have lived, worshiped, and fought at this site.
The 1.82 mile one way trek along the coastal path took us from sea level to 160' in a matter of steps. Once inside the ruins of this one elaborate strong hold the history of it, came alive. Stories of William Wallace (aka Bravehart), Mary Queen of Scots, and the daring deception to save the Scottish Crown Jewels while Oliver Cromwell laid siege to the castle for nearly a year.
Walking back towards Stonehaven, we were glad that we did the most of the uphill version of this hike first. However, we stopped so many times it is impossible to count. This time not to just catch our breath, but to look back a a major component in Scottish history.
Sla'inte Mhath (Good Health),
Jeff and Wendy