Aberdeen as Found

Graffiti-style sign for Aberdeen city

En route to the Shetlands, I stopped off in Aberdeen.  I had no idea what to expect.  Here’s what I found.  

A Working Port

Port facilities.

Aberdeen dock infrastructure reflected in office window

A Multicultural Centre

Sign for Norwegian Church in Aberdeen

Sign in Polish for Aberdeen hair salon

Hundreds of Years of History

Inscription relating shipping history since 1136

Sign for ship porter company established in 1498
Established in 1498.

Relatively Recent Bridges

Brick bridge with 5 arches
Built in 1827

Foreign-sounding Signs

Sign in British English - "kit" and "queue"
The local gym.
Scottish equivalent of Dollar Stores
The local Dollar Store.

Sign for Pocra QuayObvious Signs

Graphic sign showing guy killed by electricity

Sign proclaiming "Not in use" on decrepit postage-stamp dispenser.
“Not in use”, eh? Good tip.

Completely Confusing Signs

Incomprehensible sign on armoured truck.
Even the driver didn’t know what it meant. I asked.

Infrastructure Needing Attention

Weeds growing in building eaves

Weeds growing in cracks of monumentPaint flaking off statues on buildingInfrastructure Demanding My Attention

Paving stones on hill in Aberdeen


Aberdeen skyline obscured by fogFamiliar Pests

Dandelion in full seedLong-legged flying insect against bright-green foliageMiles of Beach

Aberdeen beach along estuaryRocky shoreline in fog.View of esplanade railing along Aberdeen beachRolled-up leaf on Aberdeen beachRock piles along Aberdeen beachUgly Concrete Shelters Built into the Hillside Above the Beach

View through porthole in concrete beach shelterView through porthole in concrete beach shelter

Breakwaters Protecting the Beach

View of wooden breakwater from esplanade walkwayView of wooden breakwater from esplanade walkwayView of wooden breakwater from just above itGulls Sitting on the Breakwaters

Gulls sitting on Aberdeen breakwaterGulls lifting off from breakwaterWater Splashing Against the Breakwaters

Incoming tide splashing against breakwaterIncoming tide splashing against breakwaterAnd an Occasional Study in Contrasts, Unrelated to the Beach . . .

Gorse growing up through razor wire atop concrete wall



  1. Jim Taylor

    I visited Aberdeen only once, while I was still in my ‘teens. I remember it as a grey and dour city. You have used your camera to see much more than I did.
    Jim T

    1. Isabel Gibson

      Jim – Well, it is called the Granite City – and exceedingly unadorned granite, at that. It doesn’t present as “pretty” in any conventional sense, but it is interesting.

    1. Isabel Gibson

      Sam – Thanks! The fog made everything grey, even though it was quite warm – a heat wave, according to the locals. On a blue-sky day it would look quite different, I expect.

  2. I wonder if the ugly concrete structures had anything to do with the last war?

    Your eye for whimsy and beauty among the prosaic, not to say grim, is a gift. Or an example worthy of emulation. Certainly, something to remember.

    1. Isabel Gibson

      Laurna – They looked more like bus shelters to me, albeit in a location sadly lacking in buses. I’d characterize them as ugly on purpose. Who would do such a thing? Well, except for the Soviets, back in the day.

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