Wednesday, 8 December 2010

A snowy afternoon in Old Aberdeen

 Usually when we can't get offshore because of the weather, we get ferried out to the airport and sit around for a great lump of the day waiting for our helicopter but this weekend the delay was such that they didn't send for us at all and we had the day to ourselves. As far as I'm concerned, this is an ideal chance for a bit scout about the city to see what I could see. Apart from the fact the city is covered in snow, the first thing I noticed that was new to me was this festive leopard that has found it's way into Aberdeen's Christmas decorations. If anyone out there knows where the leopard appears in the Christmas story or anyone elses Christmas traditions, it would be good to know, otherwise, I'm just logging this as odd.

I decided that a wee walk to St Machar's cathedral sounded like a good idea. It's quite a way but it does take you past the university where they have a pair of weather vanes which can't seem to agree with each other.

Built in the late 15th century Kings College chapel has one of only two open crown spires in Scotland. For all it said it was open, I couldn't find a particularly inviting way in, so there are no pictures of the apparently superb collection of midieval  wood carving.

 I think most students would be quite happy to fork out the 2 and 6 for a sly puff in the quadrangle or a walk across the grass. Even 10 shillings doesn't seem too much for a particularly good bit of graffitti.

 A fancy old gate

The bank in the Old Aberdeen High Street looks a little friendlier than the usual. Perhaps the manager invites you in and offers you a wee dram, "Sit down Sir, yes here besides the fire. Have some money - just pay it back when you can."

 The police station is none too intimadating either

A late medieval mercat cross

A snowy Old Aberdeen street (old Aberdeen was actually a separate burgh from Aberdeen until 1891)

The old town house, built in 1789 was where the burghs local government was housed. Nowadays you can go in for a look, so, naturally, I did.

There's not that much to see inside as it's main purpose appears to be a place to hold meetings or talks rather than as a museum. Upstairs there's a meeting room which when I was there was very dark, surrounded by dark portraits - actually when I took a picture with the flash the pictures turned out not to be so dark after all. here's a couple of portraits of two bishops from around 1500 (the bishops not the paintings which seem to be a good bit later). Interesting though that both bishops appear to be wearing the same mitres and the staffs are undoubtable the same one.

The gates of the Cruikshank Botanic gardens (part of the university I think). In this weather, one botanic wonder looks very like another so without any further photos from there, onwards.

At last, I have arrived at St Machar's cathedral.Big, impossing and really rather plain from the outside and closed due to the weather !!!!

A rather nice celtic cross type gravestone.

I may not have managed to get into the cathedral but there's been a church here since 1370 and over the years some churches change shape dramatically. What you see here was once inside, it's part of the pre-reformation crossing and trancept .

By the time I got back into Aberdeen it was dark and the festive leopard was all lit up - lovely!


Geddi said...

It's bloody marvellous... keep it up. :D

Shundo said...

Some lovely architecture in the pictures there, but I am scratching my head as to what style the cathedral might be said to be built in.Do you have dates for it?
I am not an art historian any more than I am an architect, but the first bishop painting looks a good century or two older than the second one, which looks like an eighteenth century kind of portrait. I wonder if they still have the mitre and staff?

Janie2 said...

Thank you for the walk thru the historical and building structures. What a treat for me. The snow would be a way of life I am not sure I could deal with. But very beautiful. You certainly captured a lot of great places. I will be back.

Laoch of Chicago said...

I love Aberdeen: great pictures!!

Sandy's witterings said...

Thanks Ged (at least I suspect it's you - if you're somebody else, still thanks)

I'm not awfully sure how you would describe it Shundo. Gothic without the interesting bits perhaps. Wikipedia says "a fine example of a fortified kirk, with twin towers built in the fashion of fourteenth-century tower houses".
According to the labels, The first painting is a copy of another painting contempory with the sitter by a Mr James Giles in the 1800s and they don't seem to know who did the second one.

I'm not sure we deal too well wit the snow either Janie, judging by the news.

Laoch, for me Aberdeen means going to or coming back from work, so my appreciation of the city depends on the direction.

Woops - glad no clued up Aberdonians have passed by as I had the cathedral name completely wrong - sorted now.

Actually it's not officially a catherdral as the church of Scotland doesn't have bishops. And finally as a wee bonus fact, i discover today that quarter of William Wallace is buried inside.

Crafty Green Poet said...

oh I used to visit friends in old Aberdeen when I was a student in Edinburgh, haven't been back to that part of Aberdeen since, so thanks for reminding me what a nice place it is! The leopard os lovely but odd as you say

The Glebe Blog said...

I may have been to Aberdeen as a baby,but I can't remember !
Thanks for the look around.
Maybe the weather vanes think they're in Edinburgh,Scotlands Windy City.

Sandy's witterings said...

Juliet, when I was a student in Edinburgh, I only got as far north as Methyl in Fife (not quite the same). The oddness of the leopard has been solved though (By Mrs W who noticed my bridge span error some blogs ago) - there are two leopards on the city's coat of arms, so that's probably the reason.

I'm a bit like that with Dundee Jim - I may have been as a child but can't remember it.

Natalie Smith said...

Actually I've never been to Aberdeen in the winter but it looks very beautiful. Regards from Hilton Aberdeen

Sandy's witterings said...

Thanks for dropping by Natalie (I think the company put as up in your hotel once - comfortable and convenient for the pictures near the beach if I remember)