Monday, May 28, 2012

Weekly Update and Slains Castle

I’m temporarily suspending Monday Progress Reports which is a great sign that life is slowing down. My to-do list this week does contain some moving related items such as getting signed up for National Health Service and hopefully unpacking our air shipment, but mainly it just includes things like laundry and vacuuming. Rumor has it that our air shipment arrived in Aberdeen on Thursday. We’ve heard it takes about 2 days to clear customs so I’m optimistically awaiting a phone call to set up a delivery time for today or tomorrow. I said that last Monday as well though, so we’ll see...

Mainly I want my Vonage equipment so that I can hear the sweet voices of my family and friends back home. I can’t believe I’ve gone three weeks without talking to my Mom. I’ve been getting by with scraps of information via email, but I’m definitely ready for some phone dates.
For the past week, the weather in Aberdeen has been perfect. Pure sunshine and warm temperatures. I’m a little disheartened because the locals assure us that this is a fluke and never happens. I was hoping that summer would come to visit a few weeks out of the year, but evidence is pointing to the contrary. We’ve felt a lot of pressure to get out there and enjoy the weather while it lasts, so we spent the weekend exploring the outdoors and increasing our chances of contracting skin cancer.
Friday we headed up to Cruden Bay to do a hike around the coast and to see Slains castle. I found this hiking website, Walking Highlands, which has already become a dear friend to me. It was hard to pick just one hike for the weekend, but since Jon’s a sucker for coastlines and I’ve been hankering to see Slains castle ever since reading The Winter Sea, we decided that this would be a great choice for our inaugural Scotland hike. It took us about 45 minutes to make the drive to Cruden Bay, and about 2 hours to make the hike, which included a picnic lunch midway.
We started off from a parking lot across from a famous and beautiful golf course in town and followed a wooded trail beside a stream. We ascended a hill which lead us to a clear view of the ocean and our first glimpse of the castle.

The seascape is full of majestic cliffs which is why we decided to leave Bailey behind. I have nightmares of her chasing a bird or a rabbit straight off of a cliff face. There was actually a story of a dog that did just that and somehow managed to survive the plunge into the ocean. I bet you can’t guess what kind of dog it was. I’ll give you a hint: spotted spaniel. I’m just saying…for now, we are excluding Bailey from any hikes near cliffs.
Slains Castle is a bit rundown and appears to have been abandoned by the Scottish Tourism board. It’s fenced off, but with a gate for easy access. The inside of the castle is full of litter and graffiti which is really sad to see. It definitely took away from the atmosphere, but we enjoyed a look around anyway.
It’s easy to imagine that in its day, the castle was quite a fortress. The plot of real estate alone is incredible (Jon wants to buy it and rename it Laine’s CastleJ). At certain points, it appears that the castle is built right into the cliff wall, and from the windows you look straight out onto the ocean.
Our walking guide encouraged us to keep walking along the coast beyond the castle, and we were rewarded with spectacular ocean scenery including natural arches and blowholes.

We stopped in an especially picturesque place to have a picnic in the sunshine, before making our way back to the car. It was a nice, romantic outing and a good start to the weekend.
We spent Saturday and Sunday exploring the city and found more great shopping and parks. I also spent quite a lot of time doing this:
I never imagined I’d be able to work on my tan in Aberdeen, but the temperatures in the high 60s were ideal for reading a good book in the sun. Today is our last day of a perfect forecast, so I may put off vacuuming and doing laundry until the clouds roll in tomorrow. I hope Jonathan doesn’t fire me for being the worst house wife ever. Hopefully my nice tan will distract from the fact that there are no clean towels in the house. Oops.


  1. You know my opinion - a nice tan trumps most everything...:)

  2. What a fabulous weekend! And I think a nice looking wife at the end of the day beats a clean towel. Hands down!

  3. Ha! Yep, summer is over. Scotland gets 1 week of summer each year and it happens at the mid-end of May. It got up to 77*F in Glasgow! I was roasting! I never thought I'd ever say 77 was hot. But it was glorious!! Now, the rain is back.

    1. I'm sad that 'summer' is over but so glad that we moved here in time to enjoy it. When the weather is that perfect, there is nowhere better to be than right here in Scotland.

  4. Cruden Bay is so pretty, we used to live there and i would keep our dog on a tight lead if we went up to the castle. you should do plenty of visits as i heard that it was bought privately..(by your hubby perhaps?!) but that they want to make it into houses...not sure about it though.