The city is located in Aberdeenshire, an area of picturesque, rolling farmlands that reminds me a great deal of Saskatchewan. Many folks come here to travel the Whisky Trail which includes the Glenfiddich, Glenlivet, and Strathisla distilleries. There is also the Castle Trail which takes visitors to see many beautiful castles - some ruined, some restored and some still lived in. Dunnottar Castle, pictured above, is one such castle ruin located to the south of Aberdeen.
We were immensely lucky to spend a day with David Langan, a local fine art photographer (whose work can be seen at www.thenorthlight.co.uk). David picked us up at our hotel and took us first to Old Aberdeen to walk the quiet streets and gather some morning images of this beautiful district. The University of Aberdeen is located here and everywhere you turn old and modern architecture and sculptures share the landscape.
Next we headed to Stonehaven to visit Dunnottar Castle, a ruin set on a spectacular seaside rock outcrop with impressive vertical cliffs protecting its position. William Wallace is said to have defeated the English near the castle at the end of the thirteenth century.
From here we travelled south to the small village of Inverbervie to grab lunch from the Bervie Chipper, a fish and chips shop that has won national awards in Scotland and the UK. We took our lunch to the Gourdon harbour and sat on the jetty of this small and picturesque fishing harbour to take in the views and eat some remarkable, fresh fish. We explored the harbour for a while before driving to Fyvie Castle, a huge, beautiful pink castle. Not only is the colour remarkable, but it is said that it is one of the most haunted castles in the UK. The only white apparition we saw while there was the bride's dress in a bridal party using the ground for photos.
Our final stop of the day was a private castle that has been lovingly restored by Marc and Karen Ellington. What a pleasure to walk through the beautiful gardens in front of the castle and then to have an opportunity to see it from the inside. Marc and Karen were wonderful hosts and the residence was simply stunning.
David was a brilliant guide, driver and tutor. He has a tremendous sense of light and made certain that each stop took full advantage of the sun's position on the unusually beautiful and warm summer day. Without David we wouldn't have seen so much of this beautiful country, learned so much about Scotland past and present or had so many doors open for us to explore behind.
I highly recommend that you stop in at David's web site "The Northern Light" to get a sense of the beautiful work that he does and the beauty of the Aberdeenshire countryside. David usually runs photography workshops throughout the year so you may want to contact him if you are going to be in or near Aberdeen. This was one of the best photo days that Jan and I have had in some time - thanks again David!