Moving Round the North: or the eight places in Aberdeenshire you should see before the world ends

What ho, Wee Readers both old and new. My last post was let’s face it, interesting but a bit of downer all round – so I resolved to write about something a bit more cheerful. But that left the question, what exactly? I have things to say about, many different topics and no doubt you’ll hear about all of them in time – but they often tend to descend into a bit of a rant. And I didn’t really feel like doing that so soon after my last epic one. And then like a shining light descended from on high, it came to me. Scotland, specifically the North of Scotland. What on Earth am I talking about? Well, sit down and I shall explain.

If it wasn’t clear from my chosen pseudonym, I am a Scottish Lass – or Quine as we say in the North – and have always been very proud of that fact. I love Scotland, I love everything about it and judging by the fact that you are currently reading a blog called The Wee Writing Lassie – you probably have a slight fondness for it too. I am particularly fond, as you might expect, of my home county of Aberdeenshire. Though sadly sometimes it feels like we’re often forgotten by the world at large ; indeed even our own country men and women, struggle to understand the Doric accent of Aberdeenshire. So, I say enough is enough, people should know what we have to offer and so here we are, moving round the North of Scotland – and the eight places in Aberdeenshire / Aberdeen city you really should visit before global warming turns this planet into nothing more than a husked out shell. What? Too dramatic?

8. Tyrebagger Stone Circle

Tyrebagger Stone Circle
Behold the Standing Stones of Tyrebagger
Recumbent Standing Stones
A Bonny standing stones

Situated just outside of Aberdeen, Tyrebagger Stone Circle is a very hard place to find. You can’t find it by typing a name into Google maps and following the road layed out for you dilagently right into the thing’s car park. There is no car park at Tyrebagger Stone Circle, just a country lane, and a small patch of dirt beside a qaurry and a field. And even then you have to get out and walk a bit up another small country path, until you get to another field where you should see the tall standing stones of Tyrebagger just visable over the horizion. I’m not trying to put anyone off going, really, once you finaly reach it – this beutiful Neol/ Bronze Age Recumbant Stone Circle is more than worth the effort it will have taken to find the blasted thing. But I’m a firm beliver of going into something with your eyes wide open, so I’ll be honest, if all you’re looking for is a fun day out seeing round the sights of the North of Scotland, Tyrebagger may not be for you. However if you’re determined, and don’t mind a few tears on the road while you scream at your stupid Satnav, because it contuines to insiste you’ve arrived even though you’re still on the highway – then all the more power to you. You won’t be dissapointed with what you find at the end of your long, long journey.

7. Broomend of Circhiy Stone Circle

Broomend of Circhiy Stone Circle
Broomend of Circhiy

Situated near the Scotish town of Inverurie, The Broomend of Circhie Stone circle is a lot easier to find than the last entry on this list, it’s even got a car park. Technically speaking it’s a Henge – yeah like that one – with three standing stones placed in the middle, at least one of which is a Class 1 Pictish stone. That particular stone was placed there in the ninetieth century and bears the symbols of the Pictish Beast, and the Crescent and V-road. Now, is that the stone pictured in the photo above? Well, honestly I’m not sure, that was just the best picture I personaly have of the Circle so we’ll just have to live with that.

6. Dunnottar Castle

Dunnottar Castle
Dunnottar castle on the cliff
Challenge Accepted
The Lion's Den
The Lion’s Den

Dunnottar Castle ( Scottish Gaelic Name: Dun Fhoithear, “fort on the shelving slope”) is a particularly large ruin up here in the north of Scotland. So large in fact that I couldn’t even finsih walking round it, before becoming tooo exhusted to contuine. Tough perhaps that had more to do with the mass amount of stairs you have to climb down to get to the bloody thing. And don’t even get me started on the ones you have to climb up to leave – they’re the same stairs, its just a lot harder coming back up. So the moral of our story, don’t attempt Dunnottar Castle if you’re in anyway, sick, tierd, or just started you’re period. But in all seriosness this is a fantastic piece of Scottish History. Sometimes it seems like it never ended for the densions of Dunnottar Castle – if they weren’t hiding the Scottish crown jewels from Oliver Cromwell’s invading army in the 17th century; they were forfiting their titles by taking part in the Jacobite rising of 1715. I think I even heard somewhere that the Vikings attack Dunnottar, though possibly before there was a castle there.

All in all, this ruin is well worth the price of admission, though I would advise packing some energy bars and bottled water before setting off down that hill.

5. The Bass of Inverurie

The Bass of Inverurie

Behold the hill you see before you is all that remains of Inverurie Castle more commonly referred to as the Bass of Inverurie. No one is quite sure who first raised the Bass or when – but by the time of 1176 it was held by the Leslie family and remained in use until the fourteenth century. Now the only sign of that castle are the two hills left in a middle of a graveyard. If you happen to come across it, it’s really a sight to behold once you reach the top of one of those hills where once a mighty, or at least fairly impressive castle sat. But be careful not to slip, it’s a nasty fall.

4. East Aquhorthies Stone Circle

East Aquhorthies Stone Circle
Long live the Old Gods of Scotland

Dating from the Neolithic / Bronze Age the Easter Aquhorthies Stone circle is one of the most well preserved exambles of a recumbent stone circles or so says wikapiedia anyway. Being one of the few to still have all of it’s stones intacked and unmoved. Yeah, the Scottish people – and by that I mean it’s churches – had a habit of stealling standing stones and building them into their churchs. The part of me that wants to see the good in people, might say that this was done mearly for practiclatity. The Scotish church builders had no idea what these circle of stones were for – in fact even to this day that knowledge still remains lost to us – and they needed stones to build their churches, why shouldn’t they take them? However the other part of me, which is far more scepticle in nature, thinks that at least partly this was a symbolic act. The new religion – the Christ God – concouring the old – who ever came before – by litraly using the stones from their places of power to build their own. Though I will admit that this theory relies on the notion that stone circles were places of worship, or even relgious significance. It’s higly likely they were, but unless someone builds a time-machine to go back and litrally ask the bronze age people what they were doing, we may never know that for certain. However, whatever the case, the fact still remains that a lot of our stone circles were dismantled to be built into churches, and houses, and heck even farmer’s fences – with no thought to the history they were destroying, or the damage they were doing to future genrations that will never get to experience many of these circles in their entirety. *gasp* Oh my God I didn’t know that rant was in me.

Okay…so East Aquhorthies Stone circle , a full stone circle, and a great place to stop and eat a picnic at. Moving on now, before something else sets me off.

3. Our Beaches

Fraserburgh Beach
Fraserburgh Beach

Beaches, yes! I love Beaches! And the one fetured above is a particular favourite of mine. Located in the town – or at least near the borders of the town – of Fraserburgh, this particular beach is well known for its sandy dunes. Look in the distance of the picture and you’ll see one particular sandy hill, known as Tiger Hill – so named for the tiger that apparently once got loose and went wondering on it. What’s most intresting about these particular sand dunes is that they’re not natural at all, they are man made. Turn your clock back to World War II and there were no sand dunes on Fraserburgh Beach at all; but rather mounds and mounds of barbed wire. They were meant to protect the town, and by extension Great Britian itself, from Nazi invasion. And before you start saying that’s completly ridiculous – why would the Nazies want to attack a small-ish town in Scotland; just remember that Fraserburgh actualy was bombed during WWII. Granted it wasn’t so much a planned attack as it was, just dropping all the bombs they had left on the nearest availbe settlement while they fled back home, but still the people on the ground didn’t know that.

Wow…that…eh…that got kind of dark didn’t it, Wee Readers? Okay…well…moving on.

2. Daviot Stone Circle

Daviot Stone Circle
The Circle
Daviot Circle meditation
Sitting in the Circle
Standing Stones
Standing Stones

Ah here we are now, Lonehead of Daviot, hands down my faviourte Stone Circle. Dating from the 3rd millennium BC, Daviot’s stone circle is considered one of the earliest structuures in Gordon, erected nearly 5000 years ago and best of all, it has a car park. You might have to walk through a bit of a forest path to get to it, and pass the huts for the Boy Scouts – yes, we have those here too – though it’s a short and well maintained path. And then wow, you’ve reached the stones and they are amazing. You’ve got you’re usual large standing stones, including the always exciting recumbent stone – but what really makes Lonehead fasinating are the smaller stones cituated in the middle of the outter circle. Spirealed into a ring shape and covering most of the inner ring, until all that’s left in the centre is a small circle filled with gravel. This Circle is less good to take a picnic in than say something like East Aquhorthies Stone Circle, but it’s more than worth a spot on your Scottish Bucket List.

1. Las Iguanas

Olives and Guacamole
Holy Guacamole Batman
Mushroom Fajita Stacks
Yum..Mushrooms
Wraps
I’m Hungry

And now we reach the final slot in our list; I struggled for some time with what I should put here. There are many stone circles I’ve yet to mention, but then there are so many up here that it would take all year to list them all. So not a circle, or a castle either, we’ve had enough of them for just now I think. Something new, something different – and then inspiration struck. Earlier this month my family took my Mum out for a Birthday trip round Aberdeen, which included lunch at our favorite vegan restaurant: the Latin American Restaurant & Bar Las Iguanas.

I could spend hours waxing poetically about this wonderful, wonderful place but that would literally take all day to read and nobody has that kind of time anymore. So instead I’ll just tell you what we had, and let Las Iguanas wax poetically for itself.

My Brother and I had: Fajita Stacks – Portobella Mushroom or the Las Iguanas website described it : ‘Cooked to order in our special mix of spices, onions & peppers. With guacamole, grated cheese, jalapenos, roasted tomato salsa & soft wheat tortillas.’

My Dad had : a Burrito Bowl – Pulled Jack-fruit or as described by Las Iguanas website: ‘All the flavors of a burrito without the tortilla. A loaded bowl of salad, spring onion rice, black beans, fresh sliced avocado, grated cheese, slaw & pico de gallo.

And finally my Mum had a gorgeous Coconut curry that for some reason is no longer on Las Iguanas menu on their website, so make of that what you will.

And we all had the very starter dishes of Holy Guacamole : ‘Make your own & season as you choose, with spice-dusted corn chips ; and Peruvian Botija Olives: ‘Olives in a herby marinade’.

And thus with a grumble in our stomachs, our journey through the North comes to an end.

If you’ve enjoyed this foray into the best and most visit-able sights up here in the cold North tip of Scotland, remember to follow the wee blog if you haven’t already. Or check me out on twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and my brand new Tumblr blog. Also for new, rants and pictures alike sign up to the Wee Mailing List. Until next time My Wee Readers, have a bonny day.

Adventure Ho!

Behold, My Wee Readers, the glinting waters of a Scottish summer ocean. Gaze upon the footprints left in the warm sand and the shiny gleam of the black rocks before you. The sky is clear and the sun is bright , and for a moment all is wonderful in the world. Now, what is the point of this? You know, other than to show off the fact that I took a really good picture of St Combs beach last week. What has this to do with anything? It doesn’t, I was just distracting you while I finish packing.

That’s right my Wee Readers, I’m going on Holiday. On the 16th of June, I’ll be heading off to the far flung reaches of Scotland for my Adventure – hopefully to collect photos similar to the one above, and not ones depicting a week full of rain. So while they’ll be no new blog posts next week, I do recommend you check me out on Instagram and especially Twitter, as I’ll be continuing to post there frequently all throughout my trip.

Well that’s me said my piece, thus I shall leave you with this image of what hopefully all my food is going to look like on holiday.

Until next time my wee readers, have a bonny day.

Harry Potter and the Dirty Robe

Or how JK Rowling finally succeeded in retroactively ruining her own books.

Welcome, my wee readers to the first of many rants well thought out think pieces on the Wee Blog.

Let us begin, much like Rowling herself, with a boy on a train.

His name is Harry Potter.

Ah, Harry Potter, that mythic golden goose that managed to ensnare both child and adult readers before…well every franchise under the sun was trying to do that. Like many in my generation I spent a good amount of my childhood reading the words of Ms. Rowling, and getting lost in the world she created. Thus, like many of my generation, and let’s face it everyone else, I was ecstatic to hear more tit-bits from the world of Harry Potter. However, I don’t think it took us very long, relatively speaking, to notice a bit of a trend with this new information.  

She seemed to be trying to retroactively ruin the Harry Potter books.

We all kind of know where it started – with the revelation of Dumbledore’s sexuality. But don’t get me wrong, Dumbledore being gay wasn’t the problem – it was the fact that she chose to reveal it retroactively on Twitter. Why would you do that? Why not just put it in the books to begin with – I mean it doesn’t have to be the focus since its Harry’s story, but it would have been really good to have that representation in the books. To have the leader of the Light be an out and proud Gay man, would have really added something to the story JK Rowling was trying to tell.  But okay…guess we’re just going to put it on social media and collect the praise without doing any of the work for actual inclusion.

Still, that revelation didn’t ruin the books themselves per say, but it did cast a shadow of doubt on the author. Was she really as progressive as she made herself out to be? Or was she just playing the part to court the favor of both the LGBT community and the homophobes? And if so, could we continue to like her books even if she turned out to be a terrible, terrible person? Could we separate Harry Potter from his Author? It’s a questions fans of works written by writers who turn out to be human garbage, have asked themselves since the beginning of the written word. In the end I think it’s a personal choice – and I very much doubt that ‘the Dumbledore is Gay’ revelation ruined the Harry Potter books for many people. After all, it didn’t exactly prove JK Rowling was an awful person, just maybe a little thoughtless in her actions sometimes.

The Next strike – or at least the next strike I remember – came in the form of supplementary material from the site Pottermore (a site I’ve never quite understood the appeal of myself, but many people seem to like so I’ll leave it be). In preparation for her new Fantastic Beast Films, Rowling released a series of short stories detailing the history of magic/wizards in North America and… oh boy, was it a racist slock.  I’m not entirely sure which was worse, the fact that she had written the Navajo Skinwalkers into her text as misunderstood Animagi; or that when she was confronted by Native American readers, she declined to respond and instead let her more rabid fans do the answering. No, no, I’m being unfair…both actions can be awful.

So where does this leave us? Do I think JK Rowling is actually racist – a bit, but probably not consciously; she’s more likely just very, very lazy in her research. Or, and I like this idea the most, this is just another step in her dastardly plan to ruin the Harry Potter series. Think about it, would you really want to read the books of a racist? I know I wouldn’t. Still Harry Potter is such a well written, if slightly flawed in sections, work that even if JK Rowling does turn out to be a terrible person and not just a very, very daft one – it isn’t a difficult thing to separate her from the work. You can still enjoy the books and the films, even if you dislike the author.

It’s what I had to do when Rowling stuck her ‘terribly large nose’ into Scotland’s business – and then refused to talk about it like an adult. Still that was back in 2014 and I can be an adult, who cares if she described the SNP as Deatheaters, and the head of Scotland’s Labour branch – one of the leaders of the ‘No Thanks’ Campaign – as a ‘good little Gryffindor’. It’s not as if it was an important political situation, that would affect the lives of almost everyone in Briton and deserved to be treated as such…oh wait.

Anyway, the point I was trying to make before that trip down painful memory lane was, that all these mistakes – and there have been many more that I haven’t mentioned here – all lead to one solid explanation:

She’s doing it deliberately.

She wants to ruin the Harry Potter series for us.

 By now you must be thinking, Wee Lassie, how have you come to this ridiculous conclusion? When there are so many more sensible ones on offer: maybe she’s just not very good at Twitter, maybe she’s just lazy, or maybe she’s just a terrible person. All excellent well thought out conclusions, my wee Readers, but all proven wrong by one new fact about the wizarding world that Rowling released relatively recently at time of writing.

Before they had toilets, Wizards would shit themselves and then just magic it away.

This has ruined Harry Potter for me…I will never again be able to take any books or films set in the wizarding world seriously. And I cannot believe that an author who wrote something so profound as the Harry Potter books, could reveal something that stupid about her own world with sincerity…ergo… this must be a deliberate campaign to sabotage her past success.

Now, why would she do that? Possibly because none of her other forays into writing have been as universally loved as Harry Potter – pigeonholing her as only the writer of Harry Potter in the public’s eyes, instead of a successful author in her own right. Perhaps she’s simply trolling us for the giggles. Or maybe I’m just seeing conspiracies where there’s really only a shitty person.

What do you think?

If you enjoyed this little foray into the frightening world of my mind, check me out on Twitter or click the follow button on my Wee blog if you haven’t already.

Until next time, my wee readers, farewell and have a bonny night.

A Wee Introduction and a Walk round Strichen

What ho, my wee readers, allow me to introduce myself. I am The Wee Writing Lassie . I am predominantly a Writer, with aspirations for a freelance editing career in the future, and this is my wee blog. This post is intended to give you a brief idea of what you’re in for during your time perusing it.

So as we talk, let us take a wee stroll round the northern Scottish village of Strichen – it’s nay actually my own village, but it’s close enough and it makes for some very pretty pictures. Lets start with the Lake…

Strichen Lake / A Wee Introduction and a walk round Strichen / Charlotte Burnett / The Wee Writing Lassie

As we look out onto the Lake of Strichen community park, the stillness of the place lets my mind wonder into worlds that are nay my own. As a writer I’m fascinated by all things Science Fiction or Fantasy – although the Horror Genre seems to creep into almost everything I write – so you may be hearing many future tirades well-thought out think pieces, through out this blog. Huh…it’s getting a wee bit nippy, I guess its time to go inside now

An old fashioned Reading room in Strichen / A Wee Introduction and a Walk round Strichen / Charlotte Burnett / The Wee Writing Lassie
The Reading Room at Strichen Library

Ah now, that’s better…it may not be exactly toasty up in the Reading Room of Strichen Library, but it is full of one of our society’s greatest treasures… the Written Word. If you take a look at the page marked in an unsubtle fashion as ‘My Short Stories’ up on the menu, you may see some of my own ‘humble’ contributions to that expansive world. My legs are getting sore sitting here, let’s go take a look around.

An old desk in the second upstairs room of the Strichen Library.

In a smaller room off to the side, we find ourselves staring at an old desk. It’s well made and doesn’t look to have much wear – meaning it’s probably not had much use. It’s one of those things we put aside and try not to think about about in our day to day lives. I’m Dyslexic and – although I haven’t had a formal diagnosis – I’m pretty sure the amount of furniture I’ve ruined with my violent stimming, allows me to say that I’m also slightly Autistic as well. Will this be a main and or recurring topic on the blog? Probably not, unless I have something interesting to say about it, it’s more a driving force behind other topics. If I have an obsession with something I’m going to be talking about it at length. Hmm…I think this metaphor has played itself out, onto the next slightly forced but very pretty picture.

Strichen Maps / A Wee Introduction and a Walk round Strichen / Charlotte Burnett / The Wee Writing Lassie
A Strichen Map

At last we come to our final stop, what I’m assuming to be some kind of map of Strichen as a whole. Thus like the map we can look back, and discover what we have learned about The Wee Writing Lassie. She is a Dyslexic, slightly Autistic, Sci/Horror Writer & Freelance Editor in Training. She lives in the North of Scotland, which she clearly loves taking pictures of, and forcing them into blog posts – so expect to see many of those in future posts to come – and…oh yes!

Vegan Pizza / A Wee Introduction and a Walk round Strichen / Charlotte Burnett / The Wee Writing Lassie
Vegan Pizzas…yum.

She’s a vegan! Thank you for joining me through this metaphor laden trip through Strichen…here’s a slice of vegan pizza for your troubles. If you enjoyed the many pictures in this blog post, then follow me on Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest to see more.