dunnottar castle

Two weeks ago we took a day trip up the east coast of Scotland to Dunnottar Castle.  It was a really beautiful day when we left the farm, but while we were driving it started sprinkling a bit and upon arrival, we saw signs that the castle was closed due to flooding (it rained quite a bit earlier in the week).  So, sadly we were not able to tour around the inside of the castle and explore the ruins themselves, but after driving all that way (well, only about 45ish minutes, but still!) we decided to make the most of it and walk all around the nearby cliffs and beach.  

Dunnottar is located about 3 kilometers south of Stonehaven, a small town of about 11,000 people that looks really cute and I've heard it's worth walking along the beach in town if you've got the time.  The castle is said to have been built in the 15th- and 16th-centuries, and used up until 1718.  Restoration of the castle began in 1925 and visitors today can see what is left of quite a few buildings, including stables, storehouses, barracks, homes, a gatehouse, and a chapel.  When the castle was at its height, it was visited by famous Scots including William Wallace, Mary Queen of Scots, and the future King Charles II.

D - I loved going and seeing Dunnottar because it just felt so Scottish to me, like what I had pictured in my head before we arrived here.  Though we've certainly seen more spectacular castles (as this one's mostly in ruins) the location is so awesome.  As we walked around the cliffs surrounding it, each new view really seemed to be better than the last.  I wish that I could go back in time and see it in its heyday, but even now, it really is amazing.  

Despite the lackluster weather, the rain wasn't heavy enough to scare us away, and we had a really nice afternoon walking along the cliffs surrounding Dunnottar and appreciating the Scottish coast (plus not being able to go in the castle saved us some £s too).  I think it was here that we got a bit of a taste of what was to come on Skye - looking through our photos from this day to select some for this post made me think a couple of times, "Oh that looks like the Isle of Skye!"  Not the shots with the castle necessarily, but the green and coastal ones - Scotland has a lot of that sort of gorgeous scenery.   I'd definitely recommend a trip to Dunnottar if you're on the east coast.  There are some nice paths surrounding it that allow for lots of exploring and walking around so even if you don't go in, I think you can still easily spend two or three hours there like we did.