Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Castle fit for a hermit

It's hitting that time of year again when becoming a hermit is looking like a viable career move for 2014.

I've often fantasised about retreating to a far-flung destination - out of reach of phones, people and work emails.  

But where is the perfect home for a hermit these days?

I've come across a few lighthouses that tick a lot of the boxes, but you've got to think anything that has a big light on top is bound to invite attention and send the wrong message to passersby.  And then there's the electricity bills to consider.

Scotland's Dunnottar Castle

Dunnottar Castle on Scotland's north-east coast has firmed as a favourite in my mind since I visited it a few years ago.

Sure it's a medieval fortress in ruins, but I'd prefer to think of it as a long-term home renovation project.

A feature wall here, a pagoda there and I'm sure it would be a slice of paradise.   Somewhere to escape it all and watch the mist come rolling in from the North Sea.

Buying property is all about compromise
Some say ruins, I say worst house on best coastline

As with all property, it's all about location, location, location.

Dunnottar Castle is ideal as it sits on a rocky outcrop with high cliffs.  It is only connected to the mainland by a narrow strip of land - something that could easily be defended against invaders or Jehovah's Witnesses.

Nice high cliffs to deter visitors
And a sea view!
It's seen a fair bit of action over the years; it's been raided, invaded, ruined and rebuilt during the centuries.   But surely that just shows what a desirable little spot it is.

Interestingly, Dunnottar Castle where the Honours of Scotland, the Scottish crown jewels, were hidden from Oliver Cromwell's army in the 1600s.  Perhaps there's a chance I might stumble across a jewel or two that someone hid here but later forgot?

Maybe some left over jewels lying around?

There's only two downsides to my escape plan that I can see.  Firstly, it's currently open to the public.  This clearly would need to stop once I move in.  

Secondly, it's not as remote as I would like as it's just three kilometres from the village of Stonehaven and not too far south of Aberdeen.  Still, I guess I would have to get my groceries from somewhere.

A view from one of the defences
So depending on how the next few weeks pan out as the silly season hits high gear, perhaps you'll find me at Dunnottar Castle next Christmas (but naturally I would strongly urge you not to come looking).

Future home?

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