Thursday 3 Sep
Heading north, I make my first spontaneous unscheduled “saw the sign and made a snap decision” stop at Glamis Castle. I do love a good castle, and the Shakespearean connections are a bonus.
It’s closed. Covid. I console myself with a completely scheduled stop at another place referenced (I imagine) in classic literature – McDonalds (Forfar).
Arrive at Dunnottar Castle mid-afternoon. It’s only open these days if you book ahead on the website, but (without ever having actually been in) I reckon Dunnottar Castle is best experienced, and certainly photographed, from a little bit away – like Edinburgh Castle. So I take photos from a little bit away. From every conceivable angle, except “from the sea” which would be tricky.
Drive on down into Stonehaven, meeting a combine harvester on the road in, which takes up the ENTIRE road. It’s a nervy moment. I nearly end up in a sheugh, but the combine driver gives me a cheery wave, so I felt better.
I’m aiming for a couple of coffee shops, both of which turn out to be closed (flooding, not Covid). Seems like either Ellen or Francis did for them. I find another one, and take a coffee and a traybake down to the harbour.
Discover the compact little harbour to be unexpectedly picturesque. Translucent blue water, a sandy beach, and – beyond the walls of the harbour itself – grassy cliffs which provide a gently spectacular backdrop. And the sun is shining.
There’s even a hipster, complete with flat cap and man-bag, on the sand.
I bite into a traybake large enough to sink one of the boats on the water, and feel like I’m in the Med. With the exception of the traybake and the hipster.
Later that evening, I phone mum from the car, while parked at Torry Battery, where I’m eating fish and chips and watching the ships leave the harbour. She tries to impress me with her knowledge of Doric. It seems to be confined to “Quines” and”Loons”. I remain unimpressed. Am also unimpressed with the fish and chips, which I imagine would generally be of high quality around here. I must have picked a dodgy place.
Apparently Torry Battery is a great spot to watch dolphins from. I discover this afterwards. I didn’t see any dolphins.