However, Seaton Park has two other faces: comically tragic, and seedy.
When I first walked through Seaton Park at night I thought of it as pretty insignificant, cold, yes, but not very memorable. Little did I know of the reputation that it has made for itself. When I spoke about this with a friend he reacted as if I had just walked through Helmand Province in Iraq with a target painted on my back, not strolled leisurely through a public park after daylight hours. The one and only time I have been back after dark, I found myself scampering up the hill towards the refuge of my halls of residence, overpowered by the fear of noises in the bushes. As the nights get longer and daylight is at a premium, does Seaton Park deserve it’s dangerous reputation and what other areas of Aberdeen have a reputation for violence?I hadn't been informed that Helmand Province had relocated from Afghanistan to Iraq (perhaps he meant Anbar?), but regardless, Seaton Park's dangerous night time conditions have even become the subject of an Internet meme!
The University’s stance on Seaton Park is very clear; they issue a preferred walking route to the campus, which bypasses the park and adds on an extra 10 minutes to your journey time. They have also placed signs around the halls of residence asking students to take care when walking through it, especially at night. Over a period stretching from 2009 to 2011, there were fifteen recorded crimes in Seaton Park, three of which were minor assaults. Of these, only one of the complainers was a student. These figures are not exactly shocking but in relative terms they are still quite high for a fairly quiet public park. Unless you are looking for an adrenaline rush, I would still advise anyone to approach the area with caution and try traveling in daylight, in a group whenever possible.
At any rate, despite its many, many drawbacks, Seaton Park is still a pretty neat and noteworthy place. Here are a few more pictures of the beautiful and carefully maintained flower gardens, which are a real highlight of any walk through the area.
By the way, if you don't mind hills, but hate unnecessarily steep hills, there's a path that runs along the southeast rim of the park. It's a bit longer than going up that heinous hill at the south end, but it's a much more gradual incline, and both of them will put you at the same spot outside the Cathedral Church of St. Machar. Seaton Park, and its seedy reputation, certainly add a bit of character to any prolonged duration of time spent in Aberdeen.