A hike to Dunnottar Castle

Hiking to a castle in Scotland?  Sounds great!

I freakin' love Scotland - I haven't seen anything yet about it that I don't like.  The people and their awesome accent, the beer, the scenery, the architecture - it's all beautiful to me.  So when I went to Aberdeen a few weeks ago for the first time, I knew I wanted to grab some shots of whatever I could find that piqued my interest.

So as I often do, I started with Google and quickly found out that this wonderful ruined castle, Dunnottar Castle, is just a short train ride away - I was done!  I had only one free day there, and knew that I would spend it here instead of in the city.  I'm glad I did!

So when that day arrived, I packed up my stuff and headed out.  From Aberdeen, I took the train to a little town south of there known as Stonehaven, which was a short 20 minutes away.  From the train station in Stonehaven, I walked into the town, which was another 15-20 minutes.  Then, I found the path that leads to Dunnottar Castle and started out!  It's very well marked and starting in the town, in my opinion, adds to the journey.

From Stonehaven the walk/hike is about 2 miles, one way.  It starts by leading you on a boardwalk next to the harbor and you loop around until you start to climb up a ridge.  Once up there, it's a fairly level hike on a well-maintained trail among fields on the coast.  It's quite beautiful and well worth the effort of getting there!

And when you get close enough, you start to see this ruined medieval fortress just waiting for ya - so awesome!

I spent a while there, taking a lot of photographs and just walking around enjoying the scenery.  I also paid the admission fee and went inside, where I took more photos (surprise!) and soaked up some amazing history.  I have always loved castles, dating back to when I was a kid, and jump at any chance to see them when I travel.  So in other words, this was a perfect destination for me.

Eventually the day wore on and I decided I had better head back, so I reversed course and took more photos on the walk back to Stonehaven.  Eventually I landed there and stopped in a pub for a cold beer.  You would do that too, right?  After all that work??

If you ever find yourself near Aberdeen, Scotland - make a plan to see Dunnottar Castle.  You will thank yourself many times over for doing so!

And yes, all 4 of these are 3 exposure HDR photos, taken on a tripod with my lovely and amazing new Sony A7II camera.  I merged them to HDR in Photomatix and applied some of my favorite filters in Color Efex Pro (Pro Contrast, Brilliance/Warmth, Skylight, Graduated Neutral Density) and then made some final touch-up edits in Lightroom.  Good fun!