The third-largest city in Scotland, Aberdeen, commonly known as the Granite City, lies 120 miles northeast of Edinburgh, on the banks of the rivers Dee and Don smack in the middle of the northeast coast.
Aberdeen divides into five main areas. The city centre, features the opulent Marischal College, the colonnaded Art Gallery, and homes that predate Aberdeen's nineteenth-century town planning and have been preserved as museums. Union Street continues west to the comparatively cosmopolitan West End, where much of the nightlife can be found. To the south, the harbour still heaves with boats serving the fishing and oil industries, while north of the centre lies Old Aberdeen, a village neighbourhood presided over by King's College and St Machar's Cathedral. The long sandy beach with its esplanade development, marks Aberdeen's eastern border.
Lerwick is a name with roots in Old Norse and its local descendant, Norn that was spoken in Shetland till the mid-19th century. The words Ler Wich mean muddy bay. The corresponding Norwegian name is Leirvik. Leir means clay and vik means bay. All year, its sheltered harbour at the heart of the town is busy with ferries, fishing boats, oil-rig supply vessels and a variety of more specialized craft including seismic survey and naval vessels from all round the North Sea. In summer, the quaysides come alive with local pleasure craft, visiting yachts, cruise liners, historic vessels such as the restored Swan , and the occasional tall sailing ship. Behind the old harbour is the compact town centre, made up of one long main street, Commercial Street; from here, narrow lanes, known as " closses ", rise westwards to the late-Victorian new town. Lerwick's attractive, flagstone-clad Commercial Street is still very much the core of the town.