Baden-Powell Council BSA
at the
2014 Blair Atholl Patrol Jamborette

Day 6 - July 20th - Stonehaven and Fife

Dunnottar Castle

Our first port of call for the day was Dunnottar Castle, just south of Stonehaven overlooking the North Sea.

The fog rolled in as we drove through rural Aberdeenshire, and by the time we reached Dunnottar it was real pea soup. The castle was completely invisible as we walked down the path from the car park. 

Just as the path began to descend into the vale below the castle, Dunnottar appeared, looming spookily out of the fog - incredibly atmospheric.

Scouts exploring the Quadrangle.

The Whig's Vault, where nearly 200 Covenanters were imprisoned between May 24, 1685 and the end of July in that year, with little food and no sanitation. 

The King's Chamber in the East Range. The small room to the left of the fireplace is the garderobe (latrine), with a hole in the seat discharging directly onto the sea-washed rocks below. All the modern conveniences, 15th century style. 

The Drawing Room, renovated in the 20th century. 

The Storehouse and Stables form the southern range of the castle.

Dunnottar's present-day inhabitants.

Stonehaven Highland Games

After Dunnottar, it was a short drive to Stonehaven and its Highland Games. Here, a participant tries the Long Jump. 

Throwing a 28-pound weight for distance. Incredibly, there's also a 56-pound weight throw.

Highland dancing is one of the most popular events. The competitors can be as young as four years old...

...boys and girls.

The Caber Toss involves throwing a pole or log which is typically about 20 feet long and weighs about 180 pounds. Distance doesn't matter - the competitors must throw the caber such that it rotates end-for-end and comes to rest pointing as closely as possible to directly away from the thrower.  

Throwing a 56-pound weight for height - the record was almost 17 feet, although no one exceeded 16 feet at these games. 

Hammer Throw for distance.

In addition to the various games, there was a carnival-style midway, with food carts and rides. This one spun the Scouts through three axes - it made me nauseated just watching.

Still, the Scouts seemed to enjoy it...

Scotland's Secret Bunker

The Secret Bunker was our last stop for the day. Built originally as an RAF observer's post, it was expanded into an underground complex where Scotland's government could survive and monitor conditions during a nuclear attack. You enter through an unassuming-looking farmhouse, and descend a long concrete tunnel into the Bunker. 

This was the nuclear operations room, where fallout patterns would have been plotted. 

Royal Air Force aircraft would have been dispatched from this room. 

We ended up in Edinburgh. After dropping off our gear at the 88th Craigalmond Scout Group's Scout Hall, we walked into Costorphine for a Chinese dinner. The food was good, and everyone appreciated having a relaxing early evening for a change. 

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