Our journey to Scotland was mainly instigated by Susan’s desire to visit the land of her ancestors. Her father was a Skinner and her mother a Stalker, seems like a complementary pairing. You catch ’em and I’ll skin ’em. She traces her lineage to both Stewart and Gordon clans. So it was an exciting moment when we touched down in Edinburgh. I suggested she didn’t kiss the ground.
We went in search of locations she had heard about since she was a wee bonny thing – notice I picked up the lingo while visiting. You may wish to read this blog with a Sean Connery accent in your head – can you say ‘Moneypenny‘. Or maybe you won’t.
We had flown from London, Southend by Queasy Jet. A surprisingly enjoyable experience – apart from the ridiculous luggage and carry on rules, and the fact that even a sip of water costs extra.
The friendly cabin crew told us to put our chairs in the upright position for takeoff. Seeing as the chairs don’t recline I consider this an unnecessary suggestion. However, we took off and landed early. We declined to purchase cosmetics en route.
Back to The L of C. We picked up a car at Edinburgh airport and drove north to Ellon, which is just the other side of Aberdeen. We stayed in The New Inn, Ellon. This name was typical UK confusion as the New Inn was pretty darned old. But I assume there had been an even older one there previously. It was clean and comfortable and the staff were friendly. We left early the next morning for our first connection with Susan’s roots. Haddo House.
Susan’s Great, Great Great (we think that’s the number of greats) Grandfather was the head stone mason in the building of Haddo House. This was a particularly meaningful visit – to see and touch the stones that had been laid by her talented ancestor. The house is now managed by the National Trust for Scotland. We didn’t book a tour to see the inside of the house, it was mainly the architecture and stonework that we wanted to experience. It wasn’t the sunniest of days, but the gardens and setting were beautiful.
We could imagine and horse-drawn carriages arriving and later the first motor cars. Downton Flabbey has nothing on this grand old stately home.
As usual we were drawn to the doors. The mat may not be heritage material.
The chapel was an addition but very handsome, with lovely stained-glass.
From the garden side the Chapel doesn’t perhaps work as well but he setting is very nice.
The colours of the formal garden stand out so well against the cool Scottish stonework.
The Virginia Creeper was more advanced in its autumnal splendour now we were further north. It was stunning against the stones.
I wish I could remove the incongruous chairs in editing – but there they were.
We have no idea of the significance of this old cannon. But it was an interesting feature next to the chapel.
The long drive was a wonderful sight. Imagine the Scottish gentry gathering, walking and riding along its length.
And we left this long drive for a long drive north and west towards Inverness and the highland lochs.
Our visit to Haddo House made a wonderful start to our Scottish adventure.