As we continued our counter-clockwise quick drive around central Scotland, after visiting Glasgow and Stirling Castle, we made it to the town of St. Andrews, which I have always thought of as being a place where overweight men in their middle age, dressed in ridiculous clothing go to hit around little white balls.

Stonehaven-Castle-RCH_1044 Stonehaven-Castle-RCH_1036 Stonehaven-Castle-RCH_1038Turns out that the birthplace of golf is just one of the things to see here. The other is the amazing and sprawling ruins of the former cathedral, which has long fallen into disrepair, and is little more than the fragments of some grand walls and spires. It still looks enormous, and I can only imagine the splendour in its day.

Stonehaven-Castle-RCH_1047Stonehaven-Castle-RCH_1052I remember packing for this trip, and laughing as I put my sunglasses in my bag – as if it’s sunny in Scotland! Well, with the sun being so low in the sky, and with everything being wet, when the sun does come out, it’s utterly blinding!

Stonehaven-Castle-RCH_1049 Stonehaven-Castle-RCH_1048We had no interest in golf, but out of curiosity, we went to have a (very) brief look at the original golf course. It’s amazing how much simpler the courses were. I was also surprised at the size of the beaches and surf here. I’ve always wanted to learn, but I think I’ll do it in the warmth of the waters at home in Queensland.

Stonehaven-Castle-RCH_1070 Stonehaven-Castle-RCH_1064 Stonehaven-Castle-RCH_1067It was a quick detour to see Glamis Castle, which was described as somewhere that wasn’t to be missed. The drive into the castle grounds, and the castle itself were sensational – however it was closed (again). We had a quick walk around some of the publicly accessible areas, and marvelled at the sheer size of the place. But eventually the warmth of the car won, and we were back on our way.

Stonehaven-Castle-RCH_1076…via a stop when we saw some Hairy Coos!!

Stonehaven-Castle-RCH_1080The detours meant that we didn’t arrive at Stonehaven (which I still continue to call Stormhaven) until it was closed, and as the sun was setting. Even though we were unable to enter the castle (which was quite expensive, too), there was no restrictions on walking out to have a look at the absolute epitome of what a rugged castle should look like.

Stonehaven-Castle-RCH_1084 Stonehaven-Castle-RCH_1104 Stonehaven-Castle-RCH_1108The sea was churning at the cliffs below, and the arctic wind was howling, biting through my wind-proof jacket. But, it was the castle itself that blew my mind. Just look at it! It could very well be the scene of some fantasy movie, but obviously for the bleak and strong ruler, rather than the Prince Charming type.

But, as we had places to go before all the light had left the sky, we kept on driving, through to the Scottish Highlands.