It's a public holiday in Aberdeen and it's been a gloriously warm and sunny day, so we drove the 16 or so miles south to Stronehaven to visit Dunnottar Castle. Scotland is a beautiful country and we're lucky to be so close to such a wonderful coastline. If only the weather could be like this every day...
Dunnottar Castle is a dramatic and evocative ruin. As you wander around the extensive buildings you are almost surrounded by sea with gulls and other seabirds wheeling and screaming around the cliffs below you. If the outline is a little familiar, this may be because Dunnottar Castle was the location for the 1990 film version of Hamlet starring Mel Gibson.

Even if there was no castle at Dunnottar, the site would immediately catch the eye - an enormous flat-topped rock with sheer cliffs on three sides. This site was chosen in Pictish times as place of strength and by Saint Ninian as a place of retreat. Dunnottar is more than a topographical curiosity since this rock and the buildings on it have reflected in miniature much of the rich and tragic story of Scottish history.

William Wallace, Mary Queen of Scots and the Marquis of Montrose have all graced the Castle with their presence. Most famously though, it was at Dunnottar Castle that a small garrison held out against the might of Cromwell's army for eight months and saved the Scottish Crown Jewels, the 'Honours of Scotland', from destruction.

More pictures here