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Day 6 - We leave Edinburgh

A roundabout route to the Cairngorms

rain 13 °C
View A maiden holiday in Scotland on SteveJD's travel map.

As far as I am aware, I only have one slight family connection with Scotland. In the 19th century, my paternal grandfather's half-sister gave birth to a son at Dupplin Castle while there with her husband who was the coachman. The poor old castle had a chequered career - it seems that it was built sometime in the 13th century but in 1461 it was attacked and was destroyed. This seems to be some internal Scottish rivalry rather than an English invasion! The castle was rebuilt, ownership changed hands and, some time later, in 1688 it was again rebuilt. I presume this had been required due to the ravages of time as I can find no mention of fire or other damage. The castle was gutted by fire in 1827 but was again rebuilt and restored as a country house. This must be the version in which my half great aunt had her child. In the 1920s or 1930s there was a fire in the interior. It was then demolished in August-October 1967 and a new house was built in 1970 on the foundations (thanks to Wikipedia). This is a family-run estate and there appears to be limited access.

All of the above is to explain that, on leaving Edinburgh, we headed for Dupplin but found that the buildings were not visible from the road and, as the castle was destroyed long ago, it is all rather academic. Still, a pleasant country drive.

One of the benefits of my Wednesday morning "lessons" with Sam Newton is that he digresses from the subject matter and I and the others find out about all manner of history. On one occasion, Sam mentioned Pictish stones at Aberlemno, so we made this our next stop, The stones date to between 400-800AD and, not surprisingly, are covered during the winter months. One stone, in the grounds of the little T-shaped church and dated to about 800AD has a depiction of a battle on one side (believed to be the Battle of Dun Nechtain in 685 in which Northumbrian raiders were routed by the Pictish army) and a cross on the other, albeit with dragons and other creatures included! Along the road are three further stones, a similarly dated roadside cross, a presumably much older stone known as the Crescent Stone on which there are barely discernible crescent shapes and the Serpent Stone (which was leaning before I touched it!). This dates back to between 500-700AD. Apparently there were other stones in the fields so this must have been quite a significant site for the Picts.


The weather on this trip was mainly drizzly to showery and windy, with a brief clear spell at Aberlemno. We decided to take a chance and headed for RSPB Troup Head. I did get out of the car and walk across the car park to see where the paths led but I was almost blown off my feet and got a little damp. The photo flatters the conditions - or my photographic abilities!


From this remote spot, we drove through some narrow lanes to Banff. Judith's great-grandfather had an aerated water factory in Annan (see photo of ginger beer bottle sold on e-Bay!) and either he or another member of his family ran a similar business in Brewery House in Banff. This a rather foreboding building, in an otherwise quite attractive town, opposite the harbour. I don't have all my records with me, so I can't bore you with the full details!


We finally carried on to the Grant Arms Hotel in Grantown-on-Spey, in the Cairngorms area, where we stayed for four nights. At dinner in the evening we were chatting to a couple from Northumberland who had been there for 7 days. They suggested a couple of places to go, one of which was great and the other I suspect was with a personal guide and our experience there didn't quite live up to expectation. Other than that, we have had a good journey with some interesting waystops.

Posted by SteveJD 18:57 Archived in Scotland Tagged scotland banff cairngorms picts aberlemno ginger_beer

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Sorry to hear about your mobility. Hope you can work through it.
Have you tried any Arbroath Smokies yet? Or even Haggis?
Interested to hear Judith's mother was a Wren. So was Jasmine's Joined up in Scotland somewhere and then found herself in Ceylon with the signals.
Have a good trip.


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