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Issue 99 - Editors View

Scotland Magazine Issue 99
June 2018


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Editors View

Christopher Coates on the charms of North East Scotland

Aberdeenshire is a land of contrasts. Jutting out into the North Sea, with its neighbours Moray and Angus to the west and south respectively, its varied landscape includes rolling hillsides, steep glens, expansive farmland and sheer cliffs. Its settlements are equally varied. The City of Aberdeen, with its intricate and imposing granite architecture has the capacity to be intimidatingly grey and spectacularly beautiful in equal measure — it really depends on whether the sun is shining.

Barely an hour’s drive away, the region’s coastal villages boast quaint waterside cottages that are more than a match from the picture-postcard hamlets of Fife’s East Neuk. However, these former fishing villages are far less well known than their more southerly counterparts, despite having appeared on the silver screen. The most well-known example is the quaint settlement of Pennan (as seen on our front cover), which served as the backdrop in Bill Forsyth’s much loved 1983 comedy Local Hero.

Though set in the fictional village of Ferness on Scotland’s west coast, this sleepy Aberdeenshire village was the director’s chosen location for filming the flick, which starred Burt Lancaster and Peter Riegert. Such was the movie’s popularity that a real red BT phone box was installed on Pennan's waterfront in homage to the one used by the protagonist to repeatedly call home to the USA, which was in fact just a prop. Today, this red phone box has become such a popular tourist attraction that it has been categorised as a listed structure!

But there’s even more to Aberdeenshire. Known as Scotland’s castle country, there’s no shortage of historic fortresses to explore. In this issue, Charles Douglas has visited the remote area of Strathdon and explored the white-harled Corgarff Castle, before venturing further into Donside and Royal Deeside. Meanwhile, Douglas Cusine has learned more about Inverbervie’s most famous son, Hercules Linton, and the unfortunate tale of the memorial erected in his honour, while John Hannavy has investigated the life of another lesser-known, yet significant, Scots engineer.

Keith Fergus has visited the harbour town of Stonehaven and trekked from coast to coast along the spectacular Great Glen Way. James Irvine Roberton has delved into the history of the west coast’s Clanranald and a battle that helped win the Picts’ dominion over nascent Scotland. Finally, I have had the pleasure of interviewing the eminent Orcadian jeweller Sheila Fleet and naming what I consider to be some of the country’s very best tours, cruises and self-catering establishments.

Don’t forget that our Scotland Magazine Photographic Challenge is still open for entries — all the info you need to take part can be found on page 28. Good luck!


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