Last weekend I went to Aberdeen to visit a friend. Aberdeen is the city where I went to university and it’s always a happy occurrence for me to return. Sadly there are a lot less of my friends still living there now with people moving on to pastures new over recent years, but I still get up there for a visit every now and again. Whenever I’m in Aberdeen I always feel very nostalgic, I think this is probably common for anyone who doesn’t still live in the same place where they went to university. I feel a strong connection to a younger version of myself and to old friends and relationships. It’s strange how so many streets, restaurants and bars have strong connections to a certain person or event yet I don’t feel this nearly as much in Manchester, where I’ve actually been living for longer than I was in Aberdeen. Being there last weekend really made me miss Scotland and miss a time that seemed so much more simple care-free and where I felt a lot more independent than I do now here in Manchester. I used to know Aberdeen so well and could get around by myself easily, I still find Manchester a confusing place at times and find it overwhelmingly large. In Aberdeen, as a student, I had a clear purpose and was passionate about what I did. Now I’ve joined the real world and often wonder how I’ve ended up spending my days as I do and where I’m supposed to go next. Still, Manchester is where I met Rob and is where we have our lovely little house so things aren’t so bad! Aberdeen obliged and was its usual brilliant blue and sunny self, lifting my spirits and putting rain-sodden Manchester to shame. Did you know that Aberdeen actually gets the most hours of sunshine in the UK?! It’s just not necessarily the warmest! Perhaps that’s the real reason why things always seemed, literally, sunnier up there!
On the Saturday afternoon we drove just a little way out of the city to Dunnottar Castle, just outside Stonehaven. The castle is ruined but compared to many other ruined fortresses around the country still has an awful lot of its buildings vaguely in tact. The location, on a strip of rocky headland sticking out into the blue North Sea, is stunning. I stood in the castle gazing out of a “window” at the sea crashing against the rocks below, raising my eyes looking at the water stretching out into the horizon and marvelled at how the inhabitants would had admired the very same unchanging view many hundreds of years before. The castle’s location was clearly very strategic and therefore it was not surprising to learn that the Honours of Scotland, or the Scottish Crown Jewels, had been hidden here from Oliver Cromwell and his army during the seventeenth century. The beautiful cold sunny weather we enjoyed that day only added to the already spectacular, dramatic view.