Day out: Dunnottar Castle

7 Jun

I don’t want to rub it in, but all my photos from Scotland are sunny.  It was sunny every day.  All day!  It rained once for a few moments … and then produced a rainbow.  So, if you were hoping for romantically grim and gloomy images — too bad.  It was glorious.

Dunnottar Castle was a forty-five minute drive from our home base near Balmoral.  A few folks had mentioned it to us as a not-to-be-missed cliffside ruin, and I think they were right.  Also, much to my satisfaction, this was my first view of the North Sea.  And it, too, was glorious.

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Yup.  Glorious.IMG_2947ed

No real facilities here, aside from toilets, but plenty of room to spread out with a picnic, and soak up the views.
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Guidebooks available, or read the not-too-bad interpretive signs all around.IMG_2962ed

Ruins of a chapel building.IMG_2966ed

Views over the coast.
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The Castle was as self-sufficient as a stronghold on an outcrop could be.  It was fascinating to see the remains of kitchens, bakeries, breweries …IMG_2984ed

Although I managed to take photos without hordes of wandering strangers throughout, the site was fairly full even on this early spring day.  Families were out with picnics and children ran up and down these inner grassy areas.  Plenty of good fencing by the cliffs, so no heart attacks for me.  (Flashback to Tintagel.)IMG_2985ed

View toward the North Sea.IMG_2992ed

I’ve very rarely seen the remains of a smithy!  This suits any fantasy or historical fiction reader.  IMG_3004ed

The somewhat forbidding silhouette of the main castle building, where The Honours of Scotland were kept safe from Cromwell.  And before that, where William Wallace burned the chapel with English soldiers inside, and Mary Queen of Scots stopped over for dinner.  Strange guests you get out here.20140414_124407ed

There’s that North Sea view, with the daffodils we found everywhere in those sunny April days.IMG_3007ed

Winding down the cliffside, you can visit rocky tidal pools on the beaches. 20140414_131253ed

We searched for shells of all shapes and sizes, tumbled smooth from the waves.IMG_3020edWhat did I say?  Gorgeous.

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