Although the east of Scotland was not my primary objective for my trip north, there were a couple of castles I wanted to visit, so I thought it was worth making the detour; albeit a fair number of miles off my planned route.
The first was Dunnottar Castle, which is situated on the coastline near Stonehaven.
The ruins of the castle dates back to the 15th and 16th centuries and is apparently where the Scottish Crown Jewels were hidden from the invading forces of Oliver Cromwell during the 17th century.
Another view, which shows the chapel to the right of the picture and if memory serves me correctly, the Tower House is nearest to the cliffs on the left with the Gatehouse on the extreme left.
I foolishly decided to drop down to the shore on the north side of the castle, which was easy enough, however I struggled to arise from what felt like the depths of the earth on the return leg. I wondered if I was thirty years older than I am as I huffed and puffed up the hill side. At the top it was evident that I am severely unfit as my legs and back screamed at me not to do anything stupid like this again. I really must get myself back into shape and lose some weight before I continue with the hill walking malarkey again!
My next venture was further north near the village of Sandend. I was on the hunt for another ruined castle called Findlater. And find later I did. Hidden amongst crags and rocky cliffs, this gem proved to be a tough one to locate.
Sandend is a gorgeous village with a couple of beautiful beaches and archaic cottages lining the streets.
I found the Dookit – pictured above – whilst enjoying the remote locations fantastic views along the coast. Continuing on down towards the cliffs I finally discovered Findlater Castle.
Again this ruin is an old one, dating back to the 14th and 15th centuries. I was tempted to drop down to the beach for a picture looking upwards to the remains of this awesome castle but my fitness levels are far from what is required to safely negotiate the steep path. Maybe another day.
I made my way to Elgin, Nairn and Inverness hoping to book into a Premier Inn but alas the area is very busy and I had to resort to a Bed & Breakfast establishment near the River Ness.
Not a bad day considering I am on my own. Tomorrow will head to further destinations that I have yet to visit.