When we decided to visit Aberdeen, I gotta admit, it wasn’t the city itself that held appeal. Instead, Aberdeen promised to be a fantastic base location to explore some of the amazing castles that can be found in the Aberdeenshire region.
Our first stop was the utterly Disney-esque Craigievar Castle.
Built in around 1576, Craigievar is one of the most well preserved castles in all of Scotland. It’s pink exterior and multiple towers are nothing short of enchanting and spellbinding. Arriving here makes you feel as if you’ve stumbled into a fairytale – especially if you do as we did and arrive before it opens and end up having the place all to yourself.
I fell so madly in love with this castle that when Dan and I elope, there is a good chance that Craigievar will be where we do so! Now I just have to convince him to wear a kilt and let me hire someone to play the bagpipes…
So, I’ll be honest, if it weren’t for my obsession with Outlander, I probably wouldn’t even have known about Castle Fraser.
This castle has never been used as a place of filming for the show, but due to its name, it is a must visit for anyone who loves Jamie and Claire as much as I do!
When we arrived in the carpark, the heavens had opened and rain was truly pouring. We ended up making a run for it and sought refuge in the cafe for lunch. When we emerged, the sun made a very short appearance, lighting up the gorgeous autumn colours and transforming a good looking castle into a truly memorable one.
Whilst visiting this property, we obtained a short term membership to the National Trust for Scotland. We paid around £15 each, which would give us access to four (or possibly five) NTS sites, free parking at all of them and a complimentary coffee! Most NTS castles have admission fees of around £10 (plus £2 for parking) so it ended up being extremely good value for us.
Dunottar Castle is quite possibly one of the most stunningly located castles in Scotland (Stirling Castle and Edinburgh Castle get nods in this category too) due to it’s incredible spot perched upon a cliff next to the ocean.
Dating back to as early as the 15th century, Dunottar has been an important of Scottish history right through to the 18th century, but it is most well known for being the hiding spot of the Scottish crown jewels in the 17th century.
The ruins of Dunottar are spread out across several acres of seaside land, making it a perfect place to spend an afternoon exploring.
Unfortunately, when we visited it pretty much poured with rain the entire time, which certainly hindered our explorations. The stones of the castle are extremely slippery, and I spent most of my time focusing on just staying upright. However, Scottish weather is downright bipolar, so despite it pouring most of the time, we did also get a few moments of sunshine.
Interestingly, Dunottar is frequently listed as one of the most haunted places in Scotland, something which I only found out after visiting. So what prompted me to look up the haunting status of Dunottar?
Well, whilst at the castle, Dan and I got into a bit of a squabble and in a huff, I went off into a different room on my own, and I swear, I am sure I saw a ghost!
I don’t believe in ghosts, I believe in science and things that are tangible and proveable, but still, for a few seconds I swear that I locked eyes with a kind of shadowy looking man, and when I blinked, he was gone. I cannot explain it, I wouldn’t even know how to try, but I do know that it scared me enough that I couldn’t bring myself to move for a few whole minutes.
Visiting Dunottar was certainly an experience that I won’t be forgetting any time soon.
Stay tuned for more of the Scotland Series!
Getting to Edinburgh: One of Scotland’s largest air and rail hubs – you’ll have lots of options
Aberdeen Youth Hostel: This is a well located backpackers, dorm beds start at £15 per night, click here to learn more
Vehicle Hire: We hired a car through Budget with no issues, which seemed to be the most affordable option
Camera: Images captured with an Olympus OM-D E-M1 in conjunction with M.Zuiko 7-14mm f/2.8 and M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 lenses
Remember: If you haven’t seen or read Outlander, do it now and thank me later!