Day 79 On the bus off the bus to Dunottar Castle

Tuesday 23 June 2015

Tod Head Lighthouse to Aberdeen
15 miles
Oli’s house (Sam’s friend)


Looking my best after a night camping at the top of the lighthouse
 I woke up to the sound of screaming gulls and a wonderful 270 degree view out of the lighthouse.  

Tod Head lighthouse
 After breakfast Rohan walked me the “pub route” (scrambling around the cliffs) to Catelline, where she left me to catch the bus to Dunottar rather than walk on the road. 

Rohan, with her lighthouse in the background
  Dunottar Castle was worth seeing. The ancient stronghold of the Earls Marischal of Scotland it has a long and colourful history due to its fantastic position on a high cliff surrounded by sea on 3 sides. It was the sight of a failed 8 month siege by Cromwell that saved the Scottish Crown Jewels.  

The magnificent Dunottar Castle
From Dunottar to Stonehaven was a well trodden path (hurrah) via the Stonehaven war memorial on Black Hill. It was built in 1922 and was designed to look like temple ruins. It’s siting and design made it possibly the most impressive war memorial I had come across.  
The Stonehaven War Memorial at Black Hill

It was then a short walk down into Stonehaven, the birthplace of Robert Thompson, inventor of the pneumatic tyre. 

Stonehaven harbour with Garron Point in the background
  It seemed like a really nice town so I had a look around and stopped at the Cool Gourmet cafe, which I highly recommend for coffee and a homemade scone. Unfortunately the open air heated swimming pool, filled with sea water at the start of the season, was closed otherwise I might have been tempted for a dip. Instead I decided I wanted to walk to Garron Point, which is the Highland fault boundary, and is just North of Stonehaven. It marks the line between the sandstone rocks to the south and the harder, granite-type rocks to the North, the border between the Lowlands and the Highlands.  

Garron Point, where the Lowlands meets the Highlands
I’m pleased I walked this route up through Cowie Kirkyard and across the golf course as the views back to Stonehaven, Black Hill Memorial and Dunottar Castle were excellent.  

Looking back at Dunottar Castle, Black Hill and Stonehaven
 As it was already the afternoon, and the next section didn’t have marked paths, I walked back into Stonehaven to catch a bus to Portlethen. The bus stopped at Asda in Portlethen so I popped in to get a couple of bits and then thought I might as well push the boat out and get a taxi to Cove Bay to avoid a stretch of road walking. This worked well as it enabled me to enjoy the last stretch into Aberdeen along a beautiful coastline. I took the time to stop and watch the kittiwakes and razorbills nesting on the cliffs, ignoring the terrible smell.  
Can you see this kittiwake’s chick?
Kittiwakes nesting on the cliffs

There were lots of caves in the cliffs and it was generally a very pleasant walk.  

One of many caves
I crossed the stony Nigg Bay and then rounded Girdle Ness, past the lighthouse, and the port of Aberdeen came fully into view. There were lots of ships anchored in the bay and plenty more in port.  
Aberdeen port and looking across at Footdee and the Marine Operations Centre
It was a long walk around the port to Footdee, the old port area of Aberdeen with the new Marine Operations Centre. Here I met Oli, a friend of Sam’s, who had kindly agreed to put me up for the night. Another outdoors person, like Rohan, it was nice to chat and Oli was a great host. I was feeling really lucky to have had a few nights of good company now. 

I didn’t stop at the fish bar in Stonehaven

3 thoughts on “Day 79 On the bus off the bus to Dunottar Castle

  1. jomunday99 June 24, 2015 / 10:13 am

    Sounds like a fabulous day and I love that lighthouse. Must have been awesome sleeping in there, especially as I doubt it was dark for long at this time of year. Following you on the map!


  2. Chris Frazer June 27, 2015 / 5:19 am

    Awesome piccys the castle looks impressive……..brilliant just brilliant.


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