As I stepped off the plane in I heard a mix of accents, not the husky tones of a true Scotsman as I envisaged. At Aberdeen airport, I was surrounded by a plethora of accents and faces, Scandinavians in workwear, sharp looking businessmen and a mix of locals mingling around the small airport all with a sense of purpose.
I was visiting Aberdeen for the weekend and immediately found the city to be small, but large, busy but quiet all at the same time. My girlfriend and I were visiting for a wedding and were keen to see what the area had to offer before going to the ceremony. A city, that in some respects is the oil epicentre of the UK (if not Europe), Aberdeen is a small place that evolves around a highly concentrated population of highly skilled mechanics, scientists and engineers working offshore at the oilfields.
As we tripped out of the airport, we headed through the centre of town and the mix of architecture felt like real Scotland. High brick buildings, winding roads, but intertwined with more modern buildings as a result of its growing economy. In the mid 20th century, large oil deposits were discovered off the coast of Aberdeen and since that time the area has gone through tremendous growth with the influx of oil money reviving the area.
As we passed through town we made sure to stop by a couple of bars along the way and soak in the atmosphere before heading further a field to our hotel. The wedding was in Aboyne, a small town around 30 miles from Aberdeen that was a world away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Our only entertainment was the hotel bar and a fish and chip shop for some dinner.
As we ventured to Coull, a small spot not far from Aboyne, I was taken aback by some of the views of the countryside, mountains and farm land around us. We were visiting grandpa Jimmy, who lived immediately next to this wonderful view of the hillsides.
The view was immaculate. And what people travelling to Scotland expect to see. It’s always amazing to see that even a few minutes from a busy town you can experience views like this. According to Jimmy, the level of snow on the hills in the distance was a pretty accurate gauge for the weather in the coming days. Luckily for us, the snow covering indicated good weather for the coming days.
We ventured further on to Dinnet, which was a small area with a number of walking routes for locals. As we trudged through a number of well worn paths, we spotted waterfalls and moss all around, untouched and photogenic.
With views like this on offer all around Scotland, I would happily nudge all of you thinking of visiting to make a trip and hire a car. Drive for an hour or two out of most major cities in Scotland including Aberdeen and you experience a beautiful and charming place, ideal for a relaxing weekend away.
This is a guest article by Duncan at the Travelistic travel blog. Please visit Duncan at his blog or on Twitter @travelistic.
Photo Credit: main square. Other photos copyright of Duncan and Travelistic.