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Dunnotar Castle: A Real Castle

UNITED KINGDOM | Monday, 15 September 2014 | Views [311]

My sister and I arrived at the Aberdeen train station a full hour early. Early enough to catch an earlier train to Stonehaven. A station attendant noticed us looking at the destination lists and asked us where we were going, then told us there was a train leaving imminently. We debated it, but settled on pumpkin spice hot chocolate instead. Mmm.

We were especially glad with that decision when the train stopped in Stonehaven and saw our parents waving at us. Besides the pure thrill of reuniting with them (generally, reuniting with family tends to be my mother's favorite parts of trips) this way we didn't have to carry our luggage to the restaurant. Instead, we made my father carry our bags to a much closer pub. (He did offer. Neither my sister nor I were about to object.)

After lunch, we got rid of our bags forever (we put them in trunk of the car and were able to forget about them until we pulled into our hotel. After a few days of carrying them around constantly and watching them on trains, it felt like getting rid of them forever) and drove to Dunnotar Castle.

Stairs leading to Dunnotar

Dunnotar Castle is what a real castle should be. It overlooks the water, There are two ways to get to it- you can either swim across the North Sea, or you can climb a lot of steps. Unsurprisingly, we chose the second option (it was much easier from where we were.) Technically, the path to the castle was more down than up, but still. If I needed to survive an attack, I would run far from Dunrobin castle with its Victorian turrets and gorgeous gardens. I would much rather be sheltered in Dunrottar, even Dunrottar in its current ruined state. As long as I had trained archers, I'm relatively optimistic about my chances. (Though if I needed to survive a medieval war based out of one modern-day building, the Empire State Building would probably be a better bet. It would really confuse the invading army.)

My biggest complaint about Dunnotar is the price. It's the ruins of a castle. It doesn't even have informational audioguides or lots of signs splattered around. It had one map, one room with a modern table, wooden chairs, and the following inscription and a lot of stones. It should not be able to charge as much as Dunrobin. But it did, and we paid it, except for my mother.

 In commemoration plaque

It was very pretty.

 Water!

While we were exploring the castle, my sister became fascinated with this building.

 Citadel in the distance

I'm not sure why, but she really wanted us to walk over there to investigate.

Elishabet: “I think mom's over there.”

Me: “Really?”

Elishabet: “Yes. In the red coat.”

Me: “She stole my red coat!”

Dad: “Um... guys, I'm pretty sure she's waving to us from the opposite direction.”

Elishabet: “Nope. She's definitely over by that monument. Right in the middle of it.”

 Even after we met up with my mother, my sister kept insisting that she was over in the monument, and we needed to go investigate. With nothing better to do (our only other plans for the day were to check into the hotel, and that didn't need to be done so soon) we went for a nice walk. It was a fair distance away, and made further by the coastal path that was the only nice (defined: “we didn't need to scale barbed wire electric fences and plow through fields”) way to get there.

 It wasn't that interesting a building, but between the lunch and the walk there, we mostly succeeded in catching each other up on the days that we'd spent outside each other's companies. At least, I presume we must have, since we stopped talking about it. This could have been out of lack of material, or it could have been out of an increased emphasis on shared bonding experiences.

 Nothing encourages bonding quite like things going minorly but frustratingly wrong

Tags: car, castle, citadel, steps, walking

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