It all started when my friend Dave, a Canadian fellow who we bonded over our love of hockey and our distaste of the Bruins, and I left from the university down to the famed Pittodrie Stadium on the 27th September. Seeing all the Aberdonians turning to support the home squad as they faced off Inverness Caledonia-Thistle, who are above them on the Scottish Premier League table, felt like walking in NYC except everyone was wearing red. We met up with our friend Ruth and proceeded to head into the clashing of two SPL giants!
There were fans of every taste there; wee kids with their parents, the old folks enjoying the game, the hard core fans shouting horrendous obscenities at the referee, and those who were there for a good time screaming their heads off like it was a hockey game (mainly me and Dave… alright mainly me).
When Caley-Thistle scored the away section which had over 100 people cheered for 5 minutes and started their chants. 10 minutes later all you saw was the Dons (a nickname for the team) rip the ball into the back of the net and the stadium jumped to their seats and roared, everyone clapping, and the chant starting: “Oh when the Reds go steaming in! I want to be in that number. Oh when the Reds go steaming in!” The game was 3-2 Aberdeen.
The atmosphere was electric in the city, the pubs filled with the fans, talking of the game and then turning their attention to the next game on the TV.
Three days later I attended another game with my flat mates. St. Mirren FC, a team from west of Glasgow, came to face off the Dons. My neighbor, Andy, is a big fan so he dragged me, a Londoner, and kid from the Highlands to the away section. We all thought we'd be leaving with black eyes, especially after St. Mirren, a squad low on the SPL table tied it up in the last 5 minutes of the game with a penalty kick. We cheered at the players and jeered at the Aberdeen fans. We had an obstacle after all the cheering and snatching victory from the home squad: escaping from Pittodrie Stadium with angry Aberdonians everywhere back to Hillhead of Seaton-1.5 miles away. We still wonder how we did it.
Fast forward to Saturday the 4th October, my Archaeology in Action class took an archaeological tour via bus through Aberdeenshire. The first site, Cullerlie in Echt. The stone circle was originally from the Bronze Age and managed to stay there through the next few millennia. We then headed up Sunhoney, to see another Bronze Age stone circle. The second stone circle was perched up on a hill with large flat stones at 90 degree angles and throughout was peat moss and overgrown grass.
Lastly, we ended up on the Little Ord Trail in Kinord and saw an 1100 year old Pictish cross-slab. It was humbling to see this old piece of art and to wonder about the significance of what the disappeared ‘painted-people’ had in store for it. After that we visited the foundational stones of a 2000 year old settlement.
One of the things I realized after this archaeological tour was the rich history that Scotland has and how it is common to find these 1000 year old or 2000 year old artifacts littered across this land. Of course, a majority of them protected through a governmental agency such as Historic Scotland. It is humbling to see this and realize how young we are in comparison to these monuments. That settlement that we visited in Kinord was around since the time of Jesus Christ, that stone slab we visited was carved when Vikings were still sailing the seas. To see them is an honor and it’s surprising to know that they are right in the backyard in Aberdeenshire.
I’ve asked many Scots what their thoughts are on the rich history they have here and many of them have said that it has a special meaning to them that they have access to their ancestral roots and can see them. It’s amazing to see this all, I mean I’ve been passionate about Scottish history since I was 14 and slowly but surely I’m falling in love with Aberdeenshire and everything it has to offer. Even if I do have to escape every other football game from the away section.