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Showing posts from September, 2011

Echt stone circles

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Aberdeenshire | Echt | Stone circles | ★★★ [Cullerlie Stone Circle] The rural B9119 road connects a trio of interesting stone circles in the general area of Echt village. All are recumbent stone circles - i.e. with a particularly massive stone lying on its side incorporated into the circle - but changing land use over the millennia since their construction means each setting is different. Cullerlie Stone Circle lies on open ground with cows watching on from adjacent fields. You'll find Sunhoney's circle in a clearing within a small circle of woodland. Midmar Stone Circle has ended up in the churchyard of an 18th century kirk. [One of Cullerlie's inner cairns] Location & info 📌 Cullerlie Stone Circle ★★ 💬 Complicated stone circle comprising an outer ring enclosing several small cairns. By minor road 1 mi south of Garlogie, G.R.: NJ 785043 ///defensive.hammer.headstone Always open | Free 📌 Midmar Stone Circle ★★ 💬 Recumbent stone circle within

Aberdeen green spaces

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Aberdeen City | Parks | ★★★ [Johnston Gardens] Picture Aberdeen and most people probably think of the grey buildings which give the place its nickname, Granite City . However, Scotland's third largest settlement has a number of colourful parks and gardens if you know where to look. Johnston Gardens is the smallest in the list below, but in our opinion the most beautiful - see below for a link to its own feature page. Right in the city centre, Union Terrace Gardens doesn't make it onto the list but might be worth a stroll if you're nearby. [Flowers braving the snow in Seaton Park (22/11/08)] Location & info 📌 Duthie Park ★★★ 💬 Spacious park with scenic ponds and excellent winter gardens inside glasshouses. Polmuir Road, 1 mi south of Aberdeen city centre, G.R.: NJ 941043 ///crowds.honest.remedy Always open (Winter Gardens: daily) | Free 📌 Hazlehead Park ★★★ 💬 Aberdeen's biggest park (though probably not its most beautiful) on the outskir

Walk: Kincorth Hill - Granite City back garden

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Aberdeen City | Nigg | Short walk | ★★ [Kincorth Hill] Kincorth Hill forms the highest point on a broad ridge, rubbing up against Aberdeen 's southern suburbs above the River Dee. The summit's hardly more than an insignificant swelling amongst scrubby gorse and broom, but offers decent views over the whole city and green contrast to its grey architecture. There's a dense network of paths from various access points, and the photos on this page were taken all over the hill, but the route outlined below makes a logical circuit with space to park at the start. [Looking upstream along the River Dee] 📌 Walk: Kincorth Hill - Granite City back garden ★★ Start / finish at car park on Nigg Way at junction with Abbotswell Crescent, Nigg, 2 mi south of Aberdeen city centre, G.R.: NJ 945031 ///game.delay.month ▶ 2 km / 1 mi | ▲ 50 m | ⌚ Short | ⬤ Easy Features: △ Kincorth Hill (105 m) Terrain: Good, clear paths. Route & map Car park - Kincorth Hill by dir

Slains Castle

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Aberdeenshire | Cruden Bay | Castle | ★★★ [Slains Castle] Slains Castle is the bare shell of a 16th century residence once belonging to the Earl of Errol. With plain-looking stonework, large windows and seemingly little by way of defence, it doesn't look like a stereotypical castle. Despite this, the windswept ruin oozes character, surrounded by spectacular coastal scenery (watch out for the cliffs). The spot seems to be rich in wildlife too - seabirds, seals and a fox have all been present on our visits. Enter with care (as the building isn't maintained) and you can explore a fair proportion of the ground floor, though exactly how much might depend on how much you like nettles. If you find the atmosphere somehow chilling, perhaps it's because Dracula 's castle may have been dreamt up here: author Bram Stoker once stayed at Slains. [View from the coast to the south] Location & info 📌 Slains Castle ★★★ Off A975 half a mile east of Cruden Bay, G.R.:

Aberdeen

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Aberdeen City | City | ★★★ [Union Street] Aberdeen - nickname: the Granite City. Famous with good reason for its oil, cold wind and incomprehensible accents, Scotland's 3rd largest settlement might not sound like a promising place to visit for the uninitiated. But on a sunny day, grey buildings transform to give the city its other name: "the silver city with the golden sands". Several parts of Aberdeen - Castlegate, Marischal College and Old Aberdeen to name a few - sparkle when blessed by blue skies, which are more common than you might think: this is one of the sunniest parts of the country. The main shopping district clusters around wide, traffic-choked Union Street and newer Union Square. The latter is adjacent to a bustling harbour adjoining the mouth of the River Dee. North from here is the jewel in Aberdeen's urban crown: a wonderful sandy beach, with the tiny fishing village of Footdee (pronounced Fittie ) squeezed onto the neck of land in between. The

Collieston

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Aberdeenshire | Village | ★★ [Collieston] Surrounded by rough cliffs and unpredictable shifting sands, Collieston was established as a fishing village in the 15th century as one of the few safe harbours for miles around. After a successful centuries, fishing declined as business moved to Peterhead, leaving a peaceful village well worth looking around - mainly for the attractive location and coastal views. Walk south from here and you'll enter Forvie National Nature Reserve, with a sizeable seal colony at the southern end. This vast expanse of dune systems engulfed an entire village in the 1600s; only the church remains visible, long ruined and half submerged by the sand. [Hackley Bay, Forvie NNR (15/1/12)] Location & info 📌 Collieston ★★ Aberdeenshire, G.R.: NK 041286 ///nests.dairy.centrally 🚶 Collieston is the best village from which to access Forvie NNR on foot, and there are good (rough) coastal walks. 🚌 Unfortunately there doesn't appear to be a

Whinnyfold beach

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Aberdeenshire | Whinnyfold | Beach | ★★★ [Whinnyfold beach] Sometimes the most unlikely spots spring lovely surprises. Whinnyfold village hardly looks worth a second thought on the map: a hamlet at the end of a series of country lanes, a fair distance from the much more appealing-looking Bay of Cruden to the north. All seems unremarkable as you approach, with just a few unassuming rows of houses - and if a couple of non-residents have beaten you to it, you might already have run out of options for parking. But a gravel footpath leading downhill gives the game away. Follow the path over the crest and a wonderful stony cove is revealed, with a wide pebbly beach, rocky headlands and a perfect secluded feel. And maybe just a splash of magic... [Steps down to the bay] Location & info 📌 Whinnyfold beach ★★★ Immediately east of Whinnyfold village, G.R.: NK 082332 ///soggy.sparrows.icons 💬 Extremely limited parking either at the north end or towards the south end of

Buchan Ness

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Aberdeenshire | Boddam | Headland | ★★ [Buchan Ness] Buchan Ness is a rocky headland and tidal island just off the coast from the village of Boddam, a couple of miles south of Peterhead. You won't find the island or the village in many guide books, and there's not really anything to "do" here. But it's a lovely spot all the same, and worth a short detour if you're passing by on the A90 coast road. The village and quiet harbour are accessed by Station Road - which despite the humdrum (and now inaccurate) name is anything but boring: houses on either side of the street frame a perfect view out to The Skerry, a rocky islet a mile offshore. A picturesque lighthouse dominates Buchan Ness, connected to the mainland by a short bridge - and a shingle tombolo at low tide. Despite the Danger! signs, it's worth a wander around (with care) for two reasons: the views, and its status as a contender for being the most easterly point in mainland Scotland. [Vi

Cruden Bay

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Aberdeenshire | Village | ★★ [Water of Cruden at Cruden Bay] Once a popular seaside resort with hotels, golf course and good rail links, Cruden Bay was advertised a century ago as a "Brighton of the North". A bit ambitious perhaps, and today's quiet village has almost nothing in common with the south coast town. But, unlike Brighton, Cruden Bay has sand in abundance. This and most of the other scenic interest is reached by following the road towards the harbour; cross the footbridge over the Water of Cruden to access the excellent, two mile beach stretching south. In the opposite direction, dramatic sea cliffs and stacks take centre stage, with an excellent coast path leading past a couple of spectacular arches at Dunbuy and Bullers of Buchan. And throw in 16th century Slains Castle. This was quite possibly the inspiration for Bram Stoker's Dracula : the author was a regular guest at the Kilmarnock Arms in the village, and his signature apparently appears in t