Direction Aberdeenshire
Sun 15 Jul 2012 21:35

After breakfast we headed east, towards Aberdeen, for another day of sightseeing.

We first stopped at Castle Brodie, for another quick peek at the popular Scots Baronial style. Since the castle was really not that special from the outside, we took the obligatory photos and left.

Next it was time to look at a church -- the ruins of Elgin Cathedral, which was built in the 13th century and then destroyed by fire and rebuilt again several times, before finally being abandoned in the 16th century. Nowadays just the basic layout and parts of the tower remain, but one gets the idea of the impressive size it must have been in its heyday.

On the way to the Fyvie castle, we first passed through the village of Fordyce, which looks like all the usual buildings (the keep, the church, smal brick houses) have been meticulously placed there by the Disneyworld architects. The second place which we passed through was Portsoy, a port from the 17th century, with its signature high walls, needed due to the rather significant tidal effects.

The Fyvie castle itself has been in successive possession of five families, each of which added a new tower to it and rebuilt part of the structure to suit their needs. The last owner, Alexander Leith, was an avid collector of family memorabilia, all of which, including the structure, was sold or donated to the National Trust for Scotland (probably when he got fed up paying for renovation). The castle does feature the usual assortment of ghost stories -- apparently the first wife of an early owner didn't bear any male descendants, so she was locked up and gotten rid of in an unpleasant manner so that the owner could remarry.

We then made our way to Scotlands premier skiing resort Aviemore (on the way there we still passed the Glenfiddich and a doen other distilleries on the "whisky trail"). Being from a skiing nation, we thought it'd be interesting to see what facilities they offer elsewhere. The skiing happens between 600m and 1200m -- not sure how much snow there is there through the winter. There's one train (!) from the base to the peak station, the remaning lifts are either t-bars or those plate-thingies, all looking like the ones that we've replaced about 20 years ago. Nevertheless, the village in the valley was full of people, because unlike at home, this place actually offers a decent summer program (water sports, fishing, quad-driving, mountain-biking, adventure tours, etc.) -- that's a good lesson to take along. And it's only 50km away from Inverness, so anyone can wuickly pop over on the weekend.