AberdeenshireMy main mission on this trip was to go to the Steam Fayre at Castle Fraser, some pictures of which are on the right. However, un/fortunately, it was the journey there and back that proved the real highlight. My first trip to Aberdeenshire has made me want to return again and again - it's a big old county! On the way back, I also stopped at Tomintoul and Grantown on Spey in historic Banffshire and Moray respectively.
CastlesIn addition to Castle Fraser, I stopped at another couple of castles, namely Glenbuchat and Corgaff:
MonymuskJust this side of Castle Fraser lies the pretty little village of Monymusk. It is a planned estate village for nearby Monymusk House. The village centre is a square, surrounded by buildings dating from c1880-1910, all bearing datestones amongst the decorative red bargeboards and fascia boards. On the eastern side of the square, opposite the shop and hotel, a narrow driveway leads back to the church, whose stubby tower rises above the houses in front.
TomintoulThe road from the Castles to Tomintoul passes over the Lechdt summit, one of the most dramatic and exhilerating roads I have ever driven, fast, empty and surrounded by stunning scenery it is also one of the highest roads in Scotland, climbing to 600-odd metres above sea level.
Like Monymusk, Tomintoul is centered on a square in the middle of the village. It is also one of the highest villages in Scotland (only Dalwhinnie beats it in the north). Either side of the grassy square (below), the long main street stretches into the distance, with the shops and hotels all clustered in the middle here. To the south, the parish church was originally a standard Telford church, but in the early years of the 20th century, it was renovated and altered so that the street elevation bears little resemblance to Telford's design.