Armin's World Tour of Scotland

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Facts of the Day:
Date: 09/August/2002
From: Aberdeen
Via: Banchory
To: Ballater
Miles: 75
Midges: none (probably drowned)
Weather: Cloudy with showers, some heavy
Mood: Good, considering the weather

Picture of Dunnottar CastleAfter walking the streets of Aberdeen it was time to get out again. For this day I planned to visit three castles: Dunnottar Castle, Drum Castle and Crathes Castle. First I made my way to Stonehaven, from where it is only a short distance to Dunnottar Castle.Picture of Dunnottar Castle's buildingsPicture of buildings at Dunnottar Castle Dunnottar Castle (or to be precise, the ruins of it) is located on a steep sided cliff overlooking the North Sea. While this place has been a stronghold for a very long time the tower was built in the 14th century. In 1297 William Wallace burnt the fortress, complete with an English garrison. It's darkest hour was in 1685 when 167 Covenanters were held imprisoned and tortured in the "Whigs Vault". The Scottish Crown jewels were hidden in the castle for a while to prevent their destruction, until they were smuggled out under siege from English troops.

Picture of Drum CastlePicture of Drum CastleNext stop was Drum Castle near Banchory. It is owned by the National Trust for Scotland. They don't allow indoor photography, so I can only show you pictures from the outside. Two main parts can be visited, the 13th Century Tower and the house, a combination of Jacobean Mansion and Victorian Extension. I also visited the gardens, but due to the weather and the time of year most of the flowers were already gone. With better weather and earlier during the year I imagine them to be very nice though.

Picture of Crathes CastlePicture of Crathes GardenThe third and last castle for the day was Crathes Castle, also near Banchory. It is also owned by the National Trust, hence no indoor photography again. Some of the rooms in the house are famous for their panted ceilings and rightly so. The ceilings are wonderful and I'm glad that I saw them. Next to the castle are the gardens. I managed to take a few acceptable pictures despite the weather and the season, although it would have looked much better with sunshine.Picture of the Monaltrie Hotel By now it was just after 17:00hrs, so I soon made my way to Ballater. Here I found a room overlooking the River Dee in the Monaltrie Hotel, time to rest after a busy day.

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