“The Brig o’ Balgownie (originally Bridge of Don) is a 13th-century bridge spanning the River Don in Old Aberdeen, Aberdeen, Scotland.Wikipedia Page
Construction of the bridge was begun in the late 13th century by Richard Cementarius, although its completion was not until 1320 at the time of the Scottish War of Independence. After falling into disrepair in the mid 16th century it was extensively renovated in 1605.
Throughout its history the bridge has been considered an important asset. For five centuries possession of the bridge was the only way to move large armies quickly along the eastern coast of Aberdeenshire. It also provided a trade route to the wealthy areas of the north-east of Scotland.
The bridge is constructed of granite and sandstone. Its single gothic arch has span of over 12 metres and at low tide the apex of the arch lies over 17 metres above the water-line.”
Local legend suggests that this bridge was started by Bishop Henry Cheyne in the late 13th or early 14th century and completed by Robert the Bruce. Whilst this may or may not be true, historical documents show that the bridge we see today was the result of rebuilding work in three phases in the early 17th century.
This was the main crossing on the Don leading to the north from Aberdeen and vice versa prior to the construction of the adjacent Bridge of Don in 1831. Today the Brig o’ Balgownie is a Scheduled Ancient Monument.
It is situated over a deep pool known as the Black Neuk. It has attracted much interest from various sources and features in Lord Byron (1788 – 1824)’s poem, Don Juan:
“As ‘Auld Lang Syne’ brings Scotland, one and all,VisitAberdeenshire
Scotch plaids,Scotch snoods, the blue hills, and clear streams,
The Dee, the Don, Balgounie’s brig’s black wall,
All my boy feelings, all my gentler dreams
Of what I then dreamt, clothed in their own pall,
Like Banquo’s offspring; – floating past me seems
My childhood in this childishness of mine:
I care not – ’tis a glimpse of ‘Auld Lang Syne.”
|Brig o’ Balgownie at The Doric Columns|
If you are going to be here on the Saturday or Sunday prior to the conference (and are not involved in a Working Group or the Doctoral Consortium), you may want to wander around the City for an hour or two. Here are three different walks which take you around different parts of Aberdeen.
“Seaton Park lies to the north of the city and beside the park’s south gates stand the fortified towers of St Machar’s Cathedral.VisitAberdeenshire
There are many fine areas in the park from the flowerbeds, to rose beds and up to the walled garden beside the old stables. The Cathedral Walk is always a resplendent sight in midsummer and one of the most popular with visitors to the city.
There is also a popular children’s play area and large grassy areas popular with sporting groups.
Seaton Park is also an access point for the River Don and a walk has been established from the park to the city boundary.
Kayaking is also held on the river next to Seaton Park during the summer months (approximately April to September). The Aberdeen Kayak Club has an equipment store at the park, they hire out equipment and offer taster sessions for those who have not used a kayak before.”
Seaton Park is a public park in the Old Aberdeen area of Aberdeen, Scotland. One of the city’s biggest parks, it was bought by the city for use as a public park in 1947.Wikipedia Page
The River Don passes along the edge of the park. There is a beautiful flower bed area that is maintained to a high standard with new flowers planted every year, and also a secluded set of walled gardens next to a small (private) housing mews called Seaton Stables.
From the VisitAberdeenshire blog
“Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire is well known for its granite buildings and sea transports links, but it also has a thriving arts and culture scene in addition to a rich and colourful history. Long sandy beaches lay adjacent to quaint fishing villages, city parks are nestled among some of the oldest buildings and structures in the UK.VisitAberdeenshire blog
The region is home to world famous food, showcased through Michelin Guide restaurants just a short stroll from medieval castles and local ice cream producers like Mackie’s of Scotland putting North-east Scotland on the map as a top foodie destination.”
Donmouth Local Nature Reserve is a beach site in the historic Old Aberdeen part of the City, where the River Don meets the sea.VistAberdeenshire
A great place to see seals and a range of interesting birds. The beach area has changed over time as the river has changed its course. There are lots of interesting plants in the dunes and beach area. The Bird hide is an excellent shelter from which to watch the wildlife.
The paths run across King Street to the Brig o’ Balgownie, the original bridge in to the City from the North, then down the other side of the river to the sea.
The site was designated a Local Nature Reserve in 1992.
Paths are good, although wheelchair access to the beach would be difficult as the boardwalk can get covered with sand.