Michael and I had a chance to get out to the countryside yesterday, and we grabbed it! The last day of March was chilly – and snowflakes had been seen on Deeside the night before – but the sun was out a little bit more to the West than it was in Aberdeen (as so often) and so we headed for Glen Tanar. We took a roundabout route, and our first stop was the lovely village of Torphins. We were amused to find that the local grocery store had moved into one of the two churches in the centre of the village:
This is an unusual use for a church, but a good one, I think. All over Scotland there are many deconsecrated churches used as nightclubs, car repair shops, hotels and barns. One of the reasons for this dates back to the great schism in the Scottish church in 1843, called The Disruption. Suddenly rival churches were being built for those who’d left the original church – very often right across the road from the original church. (Aren’t people funny?!) There are many street corners in Scotland with two churches kitty-corner from one another. The small village of Torphins is no different: there are two churches across the road from one another. One of them is now the grocery store (I think it might have been an antique shop before), and the other still functions as a church.
Having bought ourselves a picnic, we went to Platform 22 for morning coffee. It’s a lovely place. I particularly like the cut-out overhang:
We had yummy homemade scones, and enjoyed looking at the beautiful ceramics:
Then, suitably refreshed, it was off to Glen Tanar:
I really love the architecture you see on Deeside: beautiful granite cottages and buildings, with lovely painted woodwork and trims. The cottages and office of the Glen Tanar Estate are very pretty, but my very favourite building is this wooden one. It might have been transported here from my childhood summer camp on the Oregon Coast!
It was beautifully quiet, except for the singing of many birds, and the soothing sound of this old fountain:
Here is another glimpse of the architecture:
The scent of the Scots pines was wonderful:
We had our picnic by the “Water of Tanar,” a tributary of the River Dee. Although it was sunny, the wind was almost icy and we were very glad of our hats and gloves. (Difficult to eat a sandwich with gloves, however…)
Leaving the Glen, just before you go down a steep hill, there’s a sign that says, “Ca canny doon the brae”: Go carefully down the hill. And so we did. On our way home we felt the need for more refreshment and were amused to find the Chatterbox Café (or possibly tearoom?) in the bustling town of Banchory:We had a fine cup of tea and shared a delicious slice of gingerbread. For fellow fans of the Lake Wobegon stories who will get the reference, I didn’t see Father Emil (priest of Our Lady of Perpetual Responsibility) or any Norwegian bachelor farmers. But it may be that in Banchory as well, “all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above-average”.
I hope you’re all having a fine weekend and haven’t been April Fooled too much today! The Dafter got me good this morning…