Cruden Bay, Dunnottar Castle, Dundee

Trip Start Sep 03, 2007
Trip End Sep 14, 2007

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

   I had to leave a little suspense, even though I know you saw the next posts, but . . .
I arrived last night to a very nice couple out in the middle of E.B.F., but it was a beautiful part of the world.  I was able to get up to the room and quickly get to sleep.  I was wiped out from the long drive - I had basically been driving from 12 to 8 yesterday.  Their home was out on the point at Rattray Head, very near the lighthouse, and across a small cove from a massive oil refinery at St. Fergus.  I was up early to get to my tee time at Cruden Bay, so I just had some toast and cereal (cocoa krispies!). 

   Luckily the course at Cruden Bay has a driving range, so I was able to swing a few times and shake the rust off.  I felt better by the time I got to the first tee.  Cruden Bay, as you will see by the pictures, is simply one of the more visually amazing golf courses I've ever played on.  The entire coast north of Aberdeen is one of very tall sand dunes, up to 30 feet in some places.  The golf course was routed in, on, over, and through some of these dunes - simply magic.  This is one of the more popular courses in all of Scotland, and it is now getting some worldwide recognition.  As with all links courses, there were no flat lies.  There were some long par 4, and some short ones.  All holes however had the sand dunes in play.  I was paired with another American named David, who was over with his wife.  She had conferences in Edinburgh for the first few days of their trip, so he was free to travel the countryside playing golf.  We chatted about the first week in the NFL as I had not even realized it had started - the only football scores over here are Celtics-Rangers and usually it is 1-0.  I parred the first four holes, and got into a good rhythm.  The sun came out briefly and there was very little wind, so Scotland gave me one last wonderful day to play golf.

   I shot 77, and I will let the pictures do the talking as far as the course it concerned.  I parred the last, and my golf in Scotland was finished.  I don't think I could have asked for a better day and a better course to finish up on.  I had a pint with David and his wife, then I was off to try to find the Bullars o' Buchan - a rock formation just north of Cruden Bay.  I found it by chance and hiked out to the precipice - a daunting drop but amazing!!  The sea had created a hole in the rock and had worn out a small cove.  Again, see pictures for better look.

   From there, I hopped on the motorway and zipped through Aberdeen.  Just south of Aberdeen is Stonehaven, home of Dunnottar Castle.  It is a castle ruin out on what looks like an island in the sea.  You are able to walk there, but you have to go all the way down and all the way up to get to the castle proper.  Definitely worth the trip.  I thought it funny that the men's room was right on the edge of the cliffs.  Guys, that is what we get for not putting the seat down!!  Amazing views of the cliffs, and the castle.  I am not good enough with words to describe it, so again the pictures tell the tale.  I actually bumped in to David and his wife at the castle, and wished them a safe journey back as they were leaving upon my entrance to the ruins.

   Once I left Dunnottar, I drove down to Dundee, stopping to ask for directions to Blackness Rd., which is where my grandfather lived when he was a very small child.  It was definitely in the working class section of town, and the apartments certainly looked old.  The views of the Firth of Tay were wonderful from that area, though; the Tay Bridge was shimmering in the evening sun.  I found the address, although what is there now does not quite mesh with our family tree!!  After Dundee, I made it as far as Dumfermline before I saw a Travelodge and had to stop.  I was exhausted from the drive, the fresh air, and all the walking.  I had dinner somewhere but don't ask me where, and I simply oozed into bed.  Cheers for now!
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