The winds that sweep over the ruins of Dunnotar Castle closed it to visitors the day I arrived. I got some photos by standing not too close to the edge of some cliffs. Good thing too, at one point I was almost blown off my feet.
Dunnotar has been a fortified, rocky prominence jutting out from a high point on the eastern coast of Scotland. If you were free to design a landscape for a castle that would make impossible to attack from land or sea this would be the spot. Dunnotar clings to the rest of Scotland by only a thin strip of rocky land. It is surrounded by vertical cliffs even of the side of the connecting strip of land. In medieval times it had strategic importance in control of the land and seas of the part of Scotland around Stonehaven. It has a commanding view.
Unless you cheat and use the car park, you can get to the castle via the town of Stonehaven to the north. Stonehaven has a small harbor that nurtures a small fleet of fishing vessels and an assortment of sail and motor boats that all look way to0 small to be going out into the North Sea.
The town itself is a well cared for jewel located one train station south of Edinburgh. It has lots of little shops and restaurants as well as being a short drive or long walk from the castle. I choose to take the long walk.
Ariana, still feeling the injury from her fall in Aberdeen, did not come with me. The two or three mile windy path was peaceful. The sound of the wind, gulls and distant waves knocking against the rocks echoed up to me softly. What I could hear at any one moment depended on the wind and either being protected by a ravine or exposed on a shelf of rock.
As I approached from the west I could peek down a steep ravine to the castle and see how well protected the landscape had made this rocky outcrop.
Though I could not enter the castle I was able to walk up to the main gate and see the gun ports that were added when artillery came into use. Willam Wallace of the Braveheart movie once used this caste where it is said he put quite a number of surrendered English soldiers to death.
Here you can see the entire south side of the ruin. Note how impossible it would have been to scale the cliffs to the east.
I returned to Stonehaven walking down a country lane and entering a public preserve of woodland, thus proving that not all of Scotland is open shrubs and grasses. The tiny white flowers in the photo are wild garlic or so I was told by a woman passing by.
I returned to Stonehaven and walked to the train station taking Scotrail back to Aberdeen. Though I hear Scotland is not nearly as well equipped with trains as other parts of the U.K and Europe it was nevertheless possible to travel along the coast quite easily by train. When the trains were not available the buses were. There is no comparison between Europe and the US when it comes to the convenience, comfort, and price of train travel.