Every Hogmanay the young
men of this port near Aberdeen take part in
‘Swinging the Fireballs’ - a wintry fire
ceremony designed to thwart any wandering evil
It was here in 2003 that the oldest known fossil of a land animal (a 420 million-year-old millipede) was found.
The biggest attraction,
however, is the dramatic ruin of Dunottar
Castle south of the town. With cliffs on three
sides and the North Sea on the fourth, it sits
on a 150ft high promontory.
The site of an earlier Pictish fort, it came under attack from both William Wallace (1297) and the Marquess of Montrose (1645). Franco Zefferelli featured it in his movie ‘Hamlet’, starring Mel Gibson who, coincidentally, also played the Scottish warrior William Wallace in ‘Braveheart’.
The oldest building in
Stonehaven is the Tolbooth, built by the Earl
Marischal as a store during the construction of
When Stonehaven became the county town in 1600, it was used as the County Buildings, Sheriff Court House and prison. Today it houses a museum on the ground floor and the Tolbooth Restaurant upstairs.
Another feature for which Stonehaven is famous is its swimming pool, the only art deco, olympic sized, fully filtrated sea water, open air swimming pool in the UK, a Scottish Tourist Board 4* attraction.
During the summer season, daytime swimming is simply superb in this pool, with its bright paintwork, walled sun terraces and awnings, patio armchairs and sunloungers, full disabled access, two water chutes, relaxing background music and a cosy poolside cafe complete with verandah, serving hot and cold snacks all day...
...or how about the spectacular and popular floodlit midnight swims, held from 10pm until after midnight on most Wednesday nights in season - an unforgettable experience. There are also occasional licensed Saturday night BBQs complete with live music.