Sunday, December 26, 2010

Boxing Day: Castles?

Since we were in the part of Scotland known for its many castles, we decided to spend the day castle sight-seeing.

It was...mostly a failure. But not entirely. We started out the day at Dunnottar Castle just south of Aberdeen.

The castle was built on a headland on the east coast, and even though it lay in ruins, it still quite impressive.

There were dozens of icy stairs we had to walk down (and up) to reach the entrance to the castle, and after a slow and winding hike, we reached the door only to find it closed.

The nice thing we learned about castles was that, even if they are closed, being able to see the building itself and even wander its grounds is well worth the visit.

Now comes the part of the story where my camera gets broken. By Matt.

As we walked back up (and down) the icy stone steps back to the main part of the land, Matt got ahead of me, and as I reached the last set of steps, he thought it would be funny to pull out the camera and capture me struggling my way up.

Except that he was standing directly on a patch of ice. And as he whipped out the camera (laughing, by the way), he took this one shot

and then immediately proceeded to lose his balance and fall. He tried to save the camera, but it flew out of his hand and landed pretty roughly on the ground. My expression in the above picture pretty much says it all.

I was not happy with this sudden turn of events. My camera was broken, and although it was fixable, there was nothing to be done about it while we were in Scotland. Thankfully, we brought my point and shoot as a back up camera, so we were able to continue photographing our journey, but just not as well.

One camera down, we continued our castle journey, which took us to Crathes Castle.

This castle was also closed, but we were still able to wander its grounds which included a lovely garden.

We spent the next couple of hours trying to find more castles, and ultimately failing. All of the castles were either closed or required treacherous driving to reach. We eventually ended up in the Southern Highlands, which were quite mountainous and provided a sometimes scary, but beautiful drive. We stopped in the small resort town of Braemar along the way.

It was incredibly cold, but it was a cute town to walk around and explore for a bit.

We even encountered a duck just sitting there in the middle of the road.

Matt managed to get this shot before I chased it away, quacking as I went. I just wanted to be its friend!

We eventually made our was out of the highlands and into the town of Dundee where we saw a production of "A Christmas Carol". It was delightful.

Come back tomorrow for another castle that we actually got to go inside and St. Andrews.

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