Took the new tram towards the airport, getting off at what was described as the stop for a shopping centre. It was mainly open space, perhaps the shops come later. We were to meet a coach at a Marriott hotel which was initially invisible, but turned out to be hiding behind trees.
Alison (30 years in Scottish museums) was our guide, and kept up a flow of information about the passing landscape. near Dundee I photographed some of the many polytunnels of soft fruit. Dundee is the city of three Js: Jam, Journalism and Jute.
There’s no jam made there now, but I like this (unintentional) joke from Wikipedia’s reference on Dundee: “Today traditional marmalade production has become the preserve of larger businesses.” Journalism is (for me ) Dandy and Beano, but apparently also other papers from D C Thomson. Jute was spun and woven on an industrial scale in the 19th century once it was discovered that treating the fibres with whale oil made them less brittle. (Whaling was very big in Dundee but doesn’t begin with a J.)
We visited our first Neolithic stone circle just west and north of Aberdeen – The recumbent stone circle at the Loanhead of Daviot. The recumbent bit comes from the huge (30 tonne) horizontal stone in the SW corner of the circle. Alison said this was an important stone – you bet, you don’t shift a 30 tonne rock for trivial reasons. It may be that the recumbent stone was there all on its own originally, the other upright large stones (orthostats in some texts) may have come later – or not. Anyway, at some point a big heap of stones was built inside the circle, creating a burial cairn, covering burnt bones. The active history of the site starts about 5000 years ago, and runs up to late Bronze Age about 800BC.
The isolated atmosphere of the site was hard to record with 40 of us wandering across it. But then it rained:
Next we went to visit a lovely pink Pictish stone. Decorated with a Christian Celtic cross on one side and traditional Pictish designs on the reverse. Dates to 500 to 800 AD, and would have been a meeting place and place to celebrate Christianity (churches at this time being for priests and monks, not the hoi-polloi).
Back to Aberdeen and our ferry – the Hroosey – and a flat calm journey.
Dinner on board, a great sunset after 10pm
and Valhalla Brewery (Shetland) as well as Orkney Brewery beers