A City, a river, a kirkyard & a Castle

Welcome to Scotland

It was wet and muddy as It had been raining during the morning when i arrived. I walked over to the graveyard or kirkyard as it said on the sign when entering it. I was standing on the historic site of the Knight Templars Kirkyard. A little known graveyard.

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Arriving at the hotel I decided to go for a walk as I started to see some glimpse of the sun finding the way through the clouds. I was in Aberdeen for a business trip and had been booked in at the Maryculter House Hotel. A Hotel located quite a distance from the city center.

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The Templar Kirkyard is a part of the Templar Park now located on the grounds of Maryculter House Hotel. The park was dedicated to the Virgin Mary by the Knights Templars around 1225 and a Chapel was built on the site in 1287.  The Kirkyard is surrounded by a wall that makes it sheltered from the park. It’s small and have a number of good examples of 18th century stones still in good conditions.

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I walked around the graveyard and found my way down to the river. The hotel is located next to the River Dee.

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A river that reaches the North sea at Aberdeen and is also known to be a river great for fishing so one of the activities of the hotel, as things to do in the area, and that is a unique aspect of Maryculter House is fishing. The river Dee is a world famous salmon river. I found a road along the river and kept walking. It was wet after the rain so I had to be careful where to step and at some points the road went over to a small pathway.

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I found the way up to the main road to try to find my way back to the hotel.

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Getting close to the hotel I saw the sign to Storybook Glen and got curious, so I headed up the road to have a look and see what It could be. Saying storybook, A bell should probably be ringing, telling me that It is for kids, but well It did not ring yet. Getting closer I found out it’s a park and the women selling me the ticket to go in to the park probably told me it’s a children park, but at this time It must have been the Scottish accent that I did not understand or it might as well have been the jet lag.

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It was only when I entered the park I realized it was a kids park, but as I was already inside I made my walk through the park and It ended up being a nice walk. The park is quite large and a great park to bring the kids for some play. Looking at the figures from different cartoons and children stories, I could even recognize some from the stories I was told In my childhood.

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Arriving in Aberdeen I discover a bustling, cosmopolitan city with Beautiful Architecture and a good range of restaurants, cafes and bars to choose from.

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Aberdeen City and Shire is a region full of maritime heritage so I spent some hours I had free to walking around in the city. I had to try out some of the tasteful seafood as the area is known for some of the worlds finest seafood. I strolled around for a couple of hours visiting some attractions and ended up having lunch at the Jamie Oliver restaurant in town.

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And one of the thing I could not miss was the coast line and the majestic landscape Scotland is know for, so i headed out to the Dunnottar Castle on my last day in town. I arrived at the entrance to the Castle and it looked liked it might be closed. No cars at the parking and I did not see anyone around. I found a sign telling me it was open so I continued in the direction of the castle. It was a bit of rain in the air and getting closer to the coast line it started to be quite windy. The Castle is located on an enormous flat-topped rock with cliffs on three sides and attached to the main land only by a narrow neck of land. I read on the website of the Castle that it had been closed a few days before I went to visit and being late February with strong wind and rain and this location I could understand that it’s probably not the place you would want to be with that type of weather.

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Entering Dunnottar Castle was like stepping back in history. This rock and the buildings reflects much of the rich and tragic story of Scottish history. I spent some time walking around in the different buildings and it’s an impressive site. I could imagine how it must have been in the old days.

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St Ninian, William Wallace, Mary Queeen of Scots and the Marquies of Montrose have all appeared on this dramatic stage. Most famously, though, it was at Dunnottar Castle that a small garrison held out against the might of Cromwell’s army for eight months and saved the Scottish Crown Jewels from destruction.

After visiting the Castle I made my way back to the small town of Stonehaven following the path along the coast line. It was still rain in the air and the wind had become more strong than when i entered the Castle but I decided to do the walk anyway as I wanted to see the landscape and make some photos on the way. And It is an impressive coast line well worth the walk.

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Walking the coastal path I also passed the war memorial and had some amazing view back to the Dunnotar Castel and down to the Stonehaven city. The walk was fairly easy and took me about half an hour.

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Walking down to Stonehaven you have a great view of the small seaside town. It’s a cozy city and easy to get around. I found my way over to the central part to try to find a way to get back to Aberdeen. I found a tourist information center but it was closed, but had some stands outside of the buildings with some information about the city and a map. The city is a good starting point for entering the Dunnottar Castle and also for other hiking options in the area.
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Back at the hotel it was time for an afternoon coffee and some snack before heading to the airport. The hotel is stepped in history and tradition and is often used as a location for arranging weddings. Before leaving I was told that The Knights Templar’s whose original function was to protect those on pilgrimage to the Holy Lands, were never completely dissolved in Scotland and that the organization still exist today.

Some useful information:

http://www.maryculterhousehotel.com/

http://www.dunnottarcastle.co.uk/

http://www.storybookglenaberdeen.co.uk/

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