After leaving Aviemore we headed north through more stunning scenery to Elgin, a market town near the river Lossie. We didn’t arrive until late so didn’t have time to fully explore the town, but what we saw of it looked very nice. The Waterstones is in a modern shopping centre just off the High Street.
Below from left to right: Alan Herriot’s Drummer Boy – Part of Elgin’s “Castle, Cathedral, Cashmere” trail, The Muckle Cross, St Giles’ Church
After leaving Elgin we headed towards Inverness but pulled off the road at Ardersier to look over the Moray Firth where it is sometimes possible to see dolphin, but sadly we were out of luck on this occasion. Despite the dramatic looking sky it was actually quite a warm day!
After a great stay in Aberdeen we left for our next overnight destination of Inverness. Our first stop for the day was Aviemore, which meant we got to drive across the beautiful Cairngorms National Park. It really is a stunning part of Scotland and not only that but it was the first time we came across some of the beautiful Highland Cattle. They really are gorgeous and the ones we found were very obliging when it came to photographing them!
Aviemore is synonymous with skiing and winter sports, and was one of the first resorts of its kind to be opened in Scotland. It is obviously quite a touristy town and the main road through is full of gift shops and outdoor clothing shops. The Waterstones is situated there too in what must be one of the company’s smallest shops!
Cairngorms National Park
After leaving Dundee we headed up the coast, stopping in the pretty town of Stonehaven to take some photographs before ending up in Aberdeen, our destination for two nights. Aberdeen is sometimes referred to as the Granite City and it’s easy to see why when you first arrive in the city. The grey buildings, which initially can seem rather stark, actually glitter in the sunlight and are an impressive sight. The Waterstones here is in a modern shopping centre set over two floors.
My friend Tracy lives in Aberdeen, so she picked me up in the evening and we went for dinner at a lovely hotel at Cove Bay and then she took me on a tour of Aberdeen, taking me to the Torry Battery which overlooks the harbour. We then went to the University of Aberdeen which was founded in 1495 – it’s a stunning campus, and finally we drove up to Balmedie to the north of the city. Thanks, Tracy.
The University of Aberdeen
Aberdeen – the Granite City
Aberdeen Old Town
Our next destination for two nights was to be Aberdeen. We stopped in Dundee on the way. Dundee is the home to the RRS (Royal Research Ship) Discovery and the area where she is moored is known as Discovery Point. The ship was built for Scott and Shackleton’s arctic exploration. The area has had a lot of money spent on regeneration, including the building of a V&A museum, which was designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma. It’s a very modern design which cost £80.1 million to build! I wish we’d had more time as we’d have liked to have visited but we had other things to do on the way so reluctantly decided not to go in. The Waterstones in Dundee is located in an attractive 19th century tenement building designed by architect John Bruce and is located on a side street near the town centre that leads down to the river.
Dundee is home to The Beano, which is published by D C Thompson – we spotted these statues in the town centre – Desperate Dan with his ‘dawg’, and Minnie the Minx!
After leaving Dundee we headed to Kirriemuir. J M Barrie, the author of Peter Pan was born in the small town and his birthplace museum is located here (sadly closed on the day we were there) together with a fountain dedicated to him and a statue of Peter Pan in the town centre. Ronald ‘Bon’ Scott, former lead singer of AC/DC who was born in Forfar but spent his early years here before his family emigrated to Australia. There is a statue to him at the bottom of the town.
J M Barrie
Our final stop on our way back to Perth was Dunfermline – another former capital of Scotland. The body of Robert the Bruce is interred in Dunfermline Abbey (his heart is buried at Montrose Abbey and his internal organs at Dumbarton!), and the Abbey bears the words ‘King Robert the Bruce’ around the top of the tower. The Waterstones here is in a modern shopping centre called Kingsgate. Above the shopping centre door is a tablet that commemorates the Great Fire of Dunfermline in 1624 which destroyed 66% of the town.
Dunfermline Palace (in the Abbey grounds)
For as long as I can remember I have wanted to visit the iconic Forth Rail Bridge (officially this one is just called the Forth Bridge, but nearly everyone I’ve spoken to about it adds the word ‘rail’!), so we headed across the Firth of Forth on one of the two road bridges to go to South Queensferry where you get the best views. Whilst we were that side of the river we carried on to the shopping centre at Livingston to visit the Waterstones, since it’s in the middle of a vast retail park and not somewhere we are ever likely to have visited otherwise. Set over two floors, the shop has a large glass frontage and is modern and airy.
The shopping centre has an amazing feature – HiRide – which is an assault course 13 metres above the ground! I’d love to be brave enough to give it a try.
Queensferry (sometimes referred to as South Queensferry to distinguish it from North Queensferry on the other side of the river) is a pretty town to the north west of Edinburgh, and is the perfect spot to view the bridge from. After all the years of wanting to visit it didn’t disappoint, and I took a lot of photos of the bridge – here are just a small selection…!
Queensferry High Street
(Queensferry sign above used under creative commons licence from Wikipedia. Photo credit Kim Traynor)
After leaving St Andrews we headed south, following the coast road. We stopped at a picturesque little fishing village called Pittenweem, which is still an active port with a daily fish market. After taking some photos we headed to Kirkcaldy for lunch. Kirkcaldy is known locally as ‘Lang Toun’ – literally Long Town – and is the 12th largest town (in terms of population) in Scotland. The Waterstones is located in a modern shop in the High Street in the centre of town. We didn’t have long to explore here as we wanted to visit some more places in the afternoon.