Posted by: christinelaennec | August 18, 2011

A walk on Aberdeen beach

Much of our summer weather has looked like this:

Aberdeen in August 2011 - view from the top of the (double-decker) bus.

If you would like more rainy-day top-of-the-bus photos, Linda has some super ones of Edinburgh on her blog.  But we’ve had a few lovely days as well.  Recently, on one of these, the Dafter and I headed for the beach:

Aberdeen beach, mid-August 2011. Looking south, towards the harbour wall and Girdleness lighthouse.

I don’t go to the beach very often.  I used to think that I loved the beach – and then I realised that it was the forest next to the beach (on the Oregon coast) that I loved so much.  In most places in Scotland, you have to pick between one or the other:  there aren’t that many places where the forest is right beside the ocean.  And, although the beach is only a few miles from my home, I tend to head West towards the forest when I want to get out into nature.

I do like Aberdeen beach, though.  In winter the waves can be spectacular:  in the photo above, you can see how far the sand was washed up.  In January, after some wild storms, the walkway I took this photo from was covered with about a foot of sand in some places.  Not only is the wide bay beautiful to walk along, but you can go for an ice cream or a coffee in one of the cafés along the Esplanade.  I recommend the Washington Café’s ice creams, and also the yellow Sandollar Café next to it – if you can get a seat.

Beach cafés, Aberdeen. August 2011.

And then there’s Codona’s amusement park, just behind the cafés.  I will admit to having enjoyed watching my children scream their heads off (mostly happily) at Codona’s over the years.  I’m not much for rides, but can just about manage the baby roller coaster.

Codona's amusement park, Aberdeen. August 2011.

I also have great affection for the Beach Ballroom, a lovely 1930s building along the sea front (in the photo below).  I’ve been to a few cèilidhs there, and let me tell you there is nothing so exhilarating as dancing on the sprung dancefloor there.  My elderly friend and neighbour, Mary Morrison, told me about how in the 1930s she and her friends would walk down to the Beach Ballroom, about two miles from her house, to dance.  At the end of the evening, they walked back home.  No wonder people used to be fitter than we are!

The Beach Ballroom (with red roof) on Aberdeen beach. August 2011, looking North.

The Dafter enjoyed our excursion, and has allowed me to share this photo with you:

The Dafter at the end of her summer holidays, Aberdeen beach, August 2011.

You can see three ships out in the bay, probably waiting for their turn to come into the harbour.  Little did we know, when we were there, that a little over 100 miles away was an oil leak under the North Sea.  It’s not nearly as catastrophic as the Gulf one last May, but we’re watching the news to see when they will get this one fixed.

The Dafter says thanks to everyone for your encouraging comments.  Now that her holidays are over, she is going to be writing a post to show you some of the art work she’s done over the summer.  She hasn’t quite had the amount of sunbathing she was hoping for, but has produced copious amounts of art, and also had 24 (!) French and German lessons with Mom and Dad.

Enjoy your weekend!



  1. ahaaa…. brings back memories of making sandcastles at Fittie…. until I remember how bad the seagulls are! xx

  2. I have been to Aberdeen beach – but it was in Winter! We ended up with a good summer here, after a bad start. Hope dafter enjoys being back in school. xxx

  3. I’ve never been to Aberdeen beach, but I can understand the attraction you feel. Beachside places always seem to have a sort of holiday feel – people enjoying themselves, and a constantly changing outlook.

  4. Great to see the signs of summer haven’t deserted you and yours. It rained in torrents here, all day yesterday, but this morning my room is filled with sunshine.

  5. Hi, thanks for the tour of Aberdeen! Looks fantastic, would love to visit! The beach looks really nice too, as well as the cafes along the promenade. I guess summer is kind of over in Scotland too, but here we actually enjoy an Indian Summer, rare!

  6. 24 language lessons?! That will put her at least a year ahead of everyone else in the class!
    Ah yes the beach – every year I think I will go there at lunchtime and sit and knit… but I never do. Hopeless.

  7. I love YOUR bus top shot! Thanks for the kind mention. I’m trying to work out where your bus was, but Aberdeen has changed so much. However seeing Duthie Park on the sign makes me think you’re heading towards Old Aberdeen.

    Aberdeen beach is so bracing! Seeing the ships on the horizon reminds me of looking astern from the overnight ferry from Shetland and seeing the line of ships coming behind us, all heading for Aberdeen harbour. It was a wonderfully uplifting marine rush hour – I don’t know why it made me feel so happy!

    Tell me, does The Dafter accept her parents’ knowledge willingly? My husband and I can cover French, German and Swedish as our main languages, but our children have always resisted us imparting anything of them.

  8. oh how fun! i must come to Aberdeen in the summer. it looks fabulous.

  9. If you like beaches backed by forests, what about visiting Roseisle beach in Moray: (sorry, I don’t know how to embed links in a comment).
    I must admit it’s not my favourite beach – the forest seems to press very close against the beach. I usually prefer wide open beaches, but I did find the forests along the French Atlantic coast very atmospheric. May have been because it was hot…They were my first ever glimpse into the sense of place of an area of France, through the first book I read in French, Mauriac’s Le Noeud de Viperes. How I slogged through that book word by painful word, gritting my teeth with the effort, reading it doggedly on the 20 mile round trip school bus journey in S6.

  10. Dear All,

    Thanks so much for your comments. I get such a kick out of seeing comments arriving. I hope that feeling never goes away!

    Amanda – oh yes, Fittie. Now that would make a good blog post (or two). In fairness to the seagulls, they are a bit of a pest even away from the beach.

    Barefoot Crofter – thanks for your kind back-to-school wishes! I think I almost prefer the beach in the winter. I’ll have to see if I can get some good photos.

    oldblack – yes, there is a kind of holiday feel to the beach. I hadn’t thought of it quite that way, but you’re right!

    Martin – I’m so glad you’ve had some sunshine. I know that England has been pelted lately. It’s been a wet summer all round, but perhaps that makes us appreciate the beautiful weather more, when it does make an appearance.

    Mali – I’m so glad you enjoyed looking at Aberdeen beach, and I’m delighted you’re getting an Indian Summer up in the Arctic circle. You more than deserve it before heading into the darkness.

    Roobeedoo – Now there’s an idea, sit and knit on the beach! You’d need a wind shelter of some kind, though. As for 24 lessons – it was 12 of each language, and we hope we’ve brought her somewhat up to speed at her new school.

    Linda – Thanks so much for your recommendation of Roseisle Beach. I’ll definitely have to go up there sometime. Your description of slogging through an atmospheric French novel brought back memories for me of my own high school studies! As for the bus-top photo, it’s looking down the Great Southern Road (what you can see of it), i.e. from Holburn Street towards the River Dee. Yes, we were a little bit surprised that the Dafter was happy enough to study with us, and that it worked out well. She didn’t want to be taught by a tutor, and we used the money we saved to take her to the concert in July, so that was a motivating factor. Also, as we didn’t have set material to work with, we covered the basics by linking a lot of things to her favy band: translating lyrics, getting her to make up sentences about them, etc. I think it would be harder if we’d had less freedom in our approach!

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