Celebrating Scotland: 10 Things I Love About My Country #3 – Architecture

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Should Scotland remain part of the UK now that we have been removed from the EU despite voting against it?

When we had the vote for Scottish Independence I voted to remain part of the UK because I was happy being Scottish, part of the UK and part of the EU. Now that it has been decided for us/against us to leave the EU my thoughts about becoming an independent Scotland have changed.

I am so proud to say I live in Scotland when I think of all the great music this amazing country has produced. So #3 in this series is Architecture.

There’s no doubt that Scotland has some of the most amazing buildings in the world and it would be impossible to list them all here. Also, as I have shamefully only visited a handful of them it makes more sense to focus only on my neck of the woods, Aberdeen, for #3 in this series Architecture.

No Scottish list on buildings would be complete without castles. I literally can’t get to work in the morning without passing at least twenty of the things. It astounds me how these fantastic buildings could be constructed back in the olden days when there was nothing like the modern machinery that we have these days. I am also sad to admit that I haven’t visited as much of the castles in Scotland as I should have. I think we are all kind of guilty of the thinking that when we have things on out doorstep we can visit them later…

King Of My Castle

The most recent castle that I visited was Castle Fraser which is only a mere 6 miles away from my house…

It was also quite a sunny day that day too which always helps. You aren’t allowed to take any photos inside but that didn’t matter as I was so engrossed in reading all about the history. Well, I say I was reading but Greg very kindly read out the information leaflets whilst I tried so hard not to touch all the items in the rooms. Is it just me or does a sign that says “do not touch” just make you want to touch?

Apparently, one of the owners of the Castle had only one leg and used to hop all the way up the stairs to the top as that’s where he decided to have his bedroom. Honestly, if you’ve only got one leg but you own a castle would you not make the ground floor your own? However, good on him for all the hopping as I struggled to stay upright whilst walking up all those spiral stairs and I have two legs.

There was a wedding going on the day we were there so we weren’t allowed in all the rooms and at one point we were stranded in a room with one of the tour guides, not allowed to leave as the bride was arriving but what a wonderful place to have your wedding…

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Another castle I have recently visited is Craigevar Castle which is a mere 6 miles away from my house (in the opposite direction this time) and this is a proper “fairytale” castle…

It was in Winter that we visited so we didn’t go inside but that didn’t matter as I was more interested in taking photos with my new camera that I had just received from Santa. You can see more of these in the post, If You Go Down To The Woods Today…

Last, but not least, is Dunnottar Castle (inspiration for Brave and the Windows 7 wallpaper) – such a great location for a castle! It’s all ruins now but still is amazing to see.

This is also the exact spot where Suzie from SuzieSpeaks got engaged just recently…

Aberdeen has been given the nickname “The Granite City” because everything is pretty much made out of granite. This is really beautiful when the sun shines but when it’s raining it’s grey, it’s miserable and quite depressing. Depressing or not these buildings are classic so let’s take a look at a few of my favourite granite buildings…

The Archibald Simpson

Originally a bank building designed by one of Scotland’s best known architects, Archibald Simpson

This is now a JD Wetherspoons pub but as you can see it is still a beautiful looking building outside and still has a lot of original features inside. I have to say I have spent may hours inside this building whilst it’s been a pub…

I also love the fact that Ceres, the Goddess Of Plenty sits right on the top of the building – you can never have plenty wine, right?

I’m pretty sure less than half of the people in Aberdeen realise that she sits on top of this building. I can relate to that as across the street from this is the Castlegate which hosts the Mercat Cross…

Now,  I never realised it had a Unicorn on the top of it until last year. I also only found out the other day that the Unicorn is the national animal of Scotland – how magical is that?

Despite the above revelation that I have spent several hours/days/weeks in the pub I do however expose myself to a little bit of culture now and again so another one of my favourite buildings has played host to may great entertainers over the years…

The Music Hall

The venue was again designed by Archibald Simpson (he certainly liked his pillars did old Archie) and cost £11,500  when it was originally constructed in 1822. It was opened to the public as a concert hall in 1859 and was extensively renovated in the 1980s…

My graduation ceremony was in this building and I’ve also seen many wonderful bands in here. I also went through a phase of being fascinated with combining old photos with new and the Music Hall was one of the images I used to make an olden days/present day morphed image…

The next building is sadly now occupied by Aberdeen City Council who use it to sit in and make lots of really terrible decisions and spend all day wasting the money I pay to them in taxes…

Marschial College

Originally part of Aberdeen University this, I have to say, incredible building is a brilliant example of Scottish architecture…

As I said, I’m not too keen on the latest occupants of this building but on the other hand I am so glad they have knocked down their previous offices which were just across the street from Marschial College and was the ugliest building ever…

All the buildings have been fairly old so far, not a bad thing but let’s get up to date. However, let’s ease in gently and take it with a new meets old building…

His Majesty’s Theatre

This is another building I like to frequent. Not for Shakespeare plays or anything like that, no, don’t be silly I’m more of a Hairspray or Grease kinda guy. What I like about this theatre, aside from the all singing all dancing musicals is the fact that it’s a very old building that has recently had a very modern extension and it works really, really well…

Okay, that’s us eased in gently now it’s time to get very, very modern…

University Of Aberdeen Library

Now some people might argue that this building was not designed by a Scottish architect but I don’t care, it’s in Scotland so therefore it’s Scottish and it counts on this list…

I love this building and I pass it every day and every day it looks different as the reflections depend on the weather, the time of day and give it a whole new look each time. I’ve never actually been inside because I’m not clever enough to read their books but from photos it looks just as good inside as it does outside. Maybe one day..?

Now, another recent addition to Aberdeen and one that is not just nice to look at but has a heart and soul set within it…

Maggie’s Aberdeen

Maggie’s is a haven for people who are suffering from cancer and every time I drive past it I can’t help thinking that the architect who designed this building got it so right…

My second last choice may come as a surprise as they are often associated with the poor, junkies and bad design…

High Rises

Bearing in mind I am not talking about the inhabitants of these buildings or asking you to smell the stench of urine in the elevators so stay with me here. High rise tower blocks served their purpose back in the days and perhaps they should all be demolished by now but I love them. Although Aberdeen is not the place I was born, I’ve lived here long enough that I can call it home now. Every time I leave and come back the sight of these high-rise tower blocks on the horizon signal to me that I am almost home…

Also, despite having to ride the elevator of pish, can you imagine the fantastic view of all the other amazing buildings these people in the flats would get once they get to the top…

Alas, we reach the end and if it wasn’t for the next architect then I wouldn’t be where I am now. Why? Well, he built ma hoose…

Stewart Milne Homes

Don’t get me wrong I love my house but it’s not all been sweetness and light Mr Milne! My property is not grand or full of history, in fact if you look on Google Street View it’s still just a field and I often find myself looking out the window saying “I remember when all this was just fields”. That’s because it was, only 2 years ago. So, it’s not a castle, it’s not a music hall but it is mine…

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Here’s to us Scots – there’s nae place like hame!

Are you proud of your country? Let me know about it in the comments below or tweet me @SteveSays2014 and don’t forget to take a look at other posts in this series.

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15 thoughts on “Celebrating Scotland: 10 Things I Love About My Country #3 – Architecture

  1. A few things:
    1) Just saw Lion King, followed by King Lear. I bet we’re agreed on which King is better. I don’t care how big Ian McKellan’s penis is.
    2) I just Oooooooooh!’d out loud at Maggie’s. What a beautiful building!
    3) I am going to visit Scotland. We are going to have a beer at the fanciest Wetherspoons ever.

    I love this!

    Like

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