Thursday, 5 February 2015


                            Daily Mail photograph

I read in the news the other day that Aberdeen has 'won', if that is the correct description, the title of the most dismal town in Scotland.

Urban Realm magazine said Aberdeen had become the "poor relation" of Scotland's cities as it awarded the annual Plook on the Plinth Carbuncle award to the Granite City.

The magazine cited planning issues surrounding the likes of Union Terrace Gardens as holding the city back. Speaking on Aberdeen's win, Urban Realm editor John Glenday commented: 'Aberdeen is a great city but despite its enviable financial clout and rich heritage legacy it has become the poor relation of the Scottish cities.'

Other 'winners' of this title in recent years has been Cumbernauld. 

Speaking as someone who was born in Aberdeen and who spent his early years in Cumbernauld, I have to say I take issue with Urban Realm magazine. I have lots of happy memories of Cumbernauld and I always enjoy going through there. I lived in the centre of the town, in McGregor Road and this part of Cumbernauld has barely changed since the late 1960s.

Aberdeen doesn't hold as quite as many happy memories for me but to describe it as a dismal town is a tad harsh. It's more than a quarter of  a century since I lived there but I always remember it as a clean, tidy and fresh city. Anyone who has been there and has sampled the delights of the Duthie Park with its splendid Winter Gardens, Hazlehead Park with its quaint putting green and the city's numerous shopping centres with Union Street always the hub of attention will tell you it's a cold but nonetheless delightful city.

When I lived there I used to frequent drinking establishments such as The Market Arms, The Grill, Ma Camerons and what used to be called Willie Millers. To my mind, no city can hold a candle to my present home of Edinburgh but I always enjoy a trip back to Aberdeen and the memories the old place brings back to me. 

Grey? Perhaps. Recent changes not for the best? Possibly. But dismal? Not at all. The Northern Lights will always retain a certain attraction for me.


Lilly said...

That is a bit harsh calling a city the most dismal city in the whole country. Poor Aberdeen. I have been there and would not class it as dismal either.

On another note, I wanted to wish you and Marion all the best for your wedding. How exciting!!! I hope you are doing well and things are looking up for you. Take Care and have a wonderful wedding.

Mike Smith said...

Thank you, Lilly, that's very kind of you. The nerves are jangling! Hope all is well with you.