What might a visitor see and do in Aberdeen in summer?
My visit this month was centred on attending Fin Hall’s inaugural New Pitsligo International Spoken Word Festival on Saturday 13th & Sunday 14th as well as catching up with an old friend from my student days.
“Commuting” from the city centre to New Pitsligo did remind me of the joys of the Buchan countryside around villages such as Maud, Strichen, New Deer, Old Deer and Auchnagatt. Fertile farmland and rolling hills.
One evening I walked off my dinner with a stroll around the King’s College campus of Aberdeen University, where I spent several happy years being educated. Some parts have changed a lot, but the bits I frequented back then remain remarkably untouched by the last 50 years.
That was gratifying.
St Machar’s Cathedral and Seaton Park also found their way onto my itinerary. They too were looking wonderful. For 2 years they were on my walking route between university hall of residence and my classes, and before that they were places my grandparents (who lived across the street from King’s College) took me on walks when I was a child.
It was also gratifying to see them looking so good, and unchanged in the last 50 years.
Aberdeen Art Gallery is another place I visited, attracted by two special exhibitions which are current. The first is the Book of Deer (Leabhar Dhèir), a 10th century manuscript which is the property of Cambridge University Library and on loan (for a fee) to return to its native Scotland briefly.
The other is the Galloway Hoard – rare Viking Age objects discovered in Southwest Scotland in 2014 which were buried around 900.
The Gallery has much more, and admission is free. I can recommend the coffee shops as well.
By way of contrast, in the 7 years I lived in the city I did not visit the Gallery once nor did it feature on any subsequent visits until 2021. I guess my studies took precedence back then.
ⓒ iain taylor, 2022