I usually never let a long-weekend go to waste – it’s an opportunity for a short break without using up any precious annual leave. I hadn’t planned anything for the 2017 spring bank holiday (memorial weekend in the USA) because we had lots of other holidays booked for the year. In my heart I knew I’d get itchy feet sitting around for the long weekend, but my budget told me to stay put!
On Saturday night we decided to look for last minute deals to any Scottish location within 3 hours from Edinburgh so we could spend Sunday and Monday away on an impromptu road-trip. We decided on the coastline north of Aberdeen, as we’d not been that far up the east coast before. Our first stop was to the gorgeous little harbour town of Stonehaven for lunch at the Marine Hotel & Restaurant. The very sheltered harbour, with boats bobbing in the water, children playing on the beach, and pubs dishing out fish and chips and cider on this warm day, was like a picture postcard!
After lunch we headed north through Aberdeen and beyond. For us, it’s all about finding pet-friendly accommodation so that #Moosethetravellingdog can come with us – and luckily we found a hotel in Balmedie that fit the bill! The White Horse Inn is just off the A90 and only 10 minutes from the wild Balmedie beach. The rooms are simple, but roomy and comfortable. I’m not the type who needs posh hotel rooms, especially not while travelling with a dog, but I truly appreciate the little things – like decent biscuits on the tea tray; and quality toiletries – and this hotel had both.
While our room was being prepared, we headed down to Balmedie beach to explore the sand dunes and walk the Moose. The carpark is well laid out (although a squeeze to get into if you’re in a bigger car), and there are toilets, a cafe, as well as picnic tables and a boardwalk into the dunes and out onto the beach. We decided to climb the dunes to get a good view of the beach, while Moose explored and snuffled around for rabbits!
With our new windswept hairdos we headed back to the hotel to settle down for the evening in their lovely dog-friendly lounge. It’s always great to find a hotel that has truly pet-friendly facilities, and the lounge bar at The White Horse Inn is set up well for enjoying the company of your furry friend. Moose made friends with Bailey at a neighbouring table, and the waiting staff were very welcoming and ensured he always had water. We were able to set up his bed in a corner and he happily slept all evening (except when bothering Bailey of course)!
We are definitely #foodie travellers, so I couldn’t write this post without mentioning the delicious meal we had – for my husband, mushroom soup and steak pie; and for me, the onion flower (which, in itself, was a revelation), and the fish and chips. Everything was delicious, as was the house Chardonnay; and special mention must go to the super helpful and friendly staff.
The next day we headed further north to Cruden Bay – a beautifully vast white-sand beach. It was calm and warm and it was also low tide, meaning it was perfect for Moose to swim! There is nothing better than a seaside walk and a happy (sand-covered) dog.
The last stop on our Aberdeenshire tiki-tour was the historic riverside town of Ellon. Famed for it’s otter-filled waterways, and replete with a gorgeous otter sculpture. I didn’t see any actual otters, but Ellon gave me the most marvellous gift of the trip… the best macaroni cheese pie I’ve ever eaten. Ok, so anyone outside of Scotland probably doesn’t know what a macaroni pie is or why such a thing exists, but believe me, they are fan-blooming-tastic! Care of the Ythan Bakery on Bridge Street in Ellon, this mac pie had a lovely mustard cheese sauce and tangy cheese melted on top – highly recommended! You must sit by the river and watch for otters whilst partaking in this very Scottish treat!
All photos © Hannah Henderson and may not be used without permission (sharing this blog post is fine, though!). Images shot with a Canon DSLR T3i Rebel + Canon EF Lens 50mm 1:1.8 STM; and an iPhone6s.
I have been compensated in part for this feature, however all opinions are my own.