32.1. Aberdeen, Day One: Stonehaven and Dunnottar Castle
So much to this day, I’m splitting into two posts!
Starting with the most important, if not the most fancy, meal of the day. The buffet at the hotel was first-rate, and I was the first customer so it was all fresh and piping hot!
I started with a walk to the harbor, just to sort of test how long a walk it was, since I’d be hauling my stuff on my back the next morning to stow it until I could check into my berth on the Northlink Ferry taking me to Shetland.
Today’s fun was a small guided tour of Dunnottar Castle in Stonehaven (one of the most photographed castles in Scotland), exploring that little town, and high tea afterwards before heading back to Aberdeen.
These gravestones form part of the wall beside the public footpath behind the Police Station in Bog Well Lane. They were found nearby during the 19th Century in an area used for burying plague (or pest) victims.
‘Heir lyes ane honest man, Magnvs Tailiovr, seyman, qvha depairtit in November, pest 1608’
‘Heir lyes ane Honest mans bairns Alexander and William Brokie, sones lawful to Alexander Brokie, who departet the 12 of Jwnie, of the age of tvalf and nyn yeirs old, in ano 1648’
One of the darkest chapters of Dunnottar’s history is that of the Whig’s Vault. In 1685, one hundred and twenty two men and forty five women, whose crime was their refusal to acknowledge the King’s supremacy in spiritual matters. They were imprisoned with little food and no sanitation from 24 May until the end of July in the gloomy, airless cellar. Thirty seven Whigs finally agreed to take the oath of allegiance and were released. Twenty five escaped, however fifteen were recaptured and two fell to their deaths during the attempt. A further five prisoners also died.
Arduthie was a lovely house, and I rather wish I had opted to stay there in Stonehaven. It was an easy train ride from the city, and a really cute little town, definitely more my speed than the city vibe of Aberdeen. Next time!
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