Towering Cliffs Of Buchan
I lived for about 4 months in the wee village of Crovie - it was a wonderful and unforgettable experience. Spectacular cliffs around Banff and Buchan shelter secluded, sandy coves, tiny hamlets and the ruins of old fortresses. Precipitous cliff-top paths take in the magnificent Highland scenery and dramatic sunsets that distinguish this section of coast. Old villages bear traces of a prosperous fishing industry in days gone by, and folk museums bring local history vividly to life.
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Rolling patchwork fields surround gravel approach road, overhung with beech and sycamore. Fine woodland walk leads from village; once the smallest burgh in Banffshire. Founded in 1764.
Aden Country Park
Estate dating from 18th century with restored farm buildings, mined mansion, and 230 acres of field, forest and walled nursery garden. Exhibition of local farming life; past and present. Woodland walks by lake and along South Ugie Water; deer, rabbits and foxes often seen.
Ancient fishing port at mouth of River Deveron. Seven-arch bridge spans river. Royal burgh in 1372; fashionable 18th-century wintering resort; now a quiet holiday resort with sandy beaches and sailing centre. Town of architectural surprises: Greek columns, crow-stepped gables, Venetian windows and delicate steeples. Duff House (1725-40), baroque mansion; church dates from 1789. Local history and British bird exhibition in Banff Museum.
Granite fishing village above harbour with massive concrete walls. Dominated by lighthouse on Buchan Ness, dating from 1827. Built by Robert Stevenson.. grand-father of author R.L. Stevenson, and linked to mainland by bridge.
Bridge of Alvah
Walk of 2 miles from Banff's Duff House leads inland through woods beside River Deveron to Alvah Bridge, crossing river 4Oft above impressive gorge. Follow path past Mains of Montcoffer and turn north over wooded hill to join main road near Banff Bridge; circular walk of 41/2 miles.
Bridge of Marnoch
Handsome bridge spanning River Deveron. Marnoch Old Church built 1792 with standing stone nearby. Special wool from resi-dent llamas and alpacas sold at Cloverleaf Fibre Stud Farm. Culi-nary, aromatic and medicinal herbs grown and sold at Old Manse Herb Garden.
Buchan Line Walkway
Long-distance footpath created along line of old Buchan railway. Station yard at Maud has been
landscaped and picnic tables pro-vided. Some of Buchan's best scenery; wildlife abounds.
Bullers of Buchan
Sea has carved immense rock amphitheatre and cave in cliffs. 'Bullers' probably derived from 'boilers', referring to seething waters. Cliff-top path leads along dizzy knife-edge, 100ft above waves. Gulls, kittiwakes and guillemots scream and wheel in the maze of cliffs and stacks that form the coast.
Village and Port Erroll harbour are centre of popular holiday area with sandy beaches, dunes and championship golf course. Cruden Water spanned by Bishop's Bridge of 1697. Stark ruins of Slams Castle above gaunt cliffs are thought to have inspired setting for Dracula, as author Brain Stoker used to holiday here. Castle built 1664 by Earl of Errol, Great Con-stable of Scotland.
Grand 13th-century home of the Clan Hay. Altered in 16th century with fine painted ceilings dating
from 1570, and collections of paintings and armour. Mary, Queen of Scots visited in 1562; her portrait hangs in her room. The mighty turnpike stair has 97 steps.
Richly detailed mansion on edge of Banff is one of Britain's finest works of Georgian baroque archi-tecture. Designed by William Adam in 1735 for William Doff, later 1st Earl of Fife. A second classical wing added 1870, then house drifted into decay. It served as a hotel and sanitorium; and housed German prisoners of World War II. Rooms are now restored but mansion still unfurnished and uninhabited. Exhibition on building's history.
Busy fishing port at end of rocky Kinnairds Head, where 1570 castle was converted into 1786 lighthouse; one of Scotland's oldest. Mysterious Wine Tower at head of steep cove has no stairs between its three floors; purpose unknown. Dune-backed sands at Fraserburgh Bay. morning fish market at the quay, and fishing trips from the harbour.
Resort village in wooded vale of River Ythan, bordered by corn-fields and pine forests. Early 19th-century parish church has east window created by American artist, Louis Tiffany, featuring life-size St Michael with flaming sword. Unusual oak pulpit is carved in shape of huge wine-glass. Wild path through woods leads to ruins of 16th-century Gight Castle.
Stately fortress with five great towers named after owners of last 500 years: Preston, Meldrum, Seton, Gordon and Leith. Oldest part dates from the 13th century. Labyrinth of rooms and passages, rich in Edwardian furnishings and 16th-century tapestries. Great spiral staircase, with loft wide steps, rises through five floors.
Busy fishing village clinging to steep hillside above Gamrie Bay, overlooked by Castle Hill of Findon, with good views of the surrounding cliffs. To the west, ruined chapel of 1513 said to be on site of older church built to commemorate victory over invading Danes in 1004. Short walk along path from harbour's east end leads to tiny twin village of Crovie.
Fine aromas of malt whisky fill old distillery, founded 1826. Visitor centre, guided tours.
Honeyneuk Bird Park
Rambling wildlife and conservation park housing over 100 species of birds and animals. Special breeding centre nurtures rare species. Pets' corner.
Loudon Wood Circle
Forest clearing reveals Buchan prehistoric stone circle -- central stone weighs about 12 tons.
Set about with trees and well-kept gardens, village has two contrasting churches and ruins of third. On left of road into village, small Episcopalian church with large bell tower is gem of 19th-century architecture; built of blue-grey stone, with windows by pre-Raphaelite artist Edward Burne-Jones. Spacious parish church dating from 18th century has large gallery. Standing next to it is its ruined 17th-century predecessor.
Resort town, formerly known as Doune, with busy fishing harbour, crammed with salmon nets and lobster pots. Boatyard on western side. Hill of Doune, reached by path from east end of Banff Bridge, provides fine views of Deveron estuary and Banff on west side of bridge.
Single street lined with fishermen's cottages, 1 mile from sea. Steep road leads to pebble beach at mouth of Dour valley, where caverns riddle red-sandstone cliffs. Ruined church of Old Aberdour, among the oldest in north Scotland, has a number of interesting gravestones.
Village high street leads to Hill of Culsh, topped by austere monument to a local landlord. Fine view over hills of Buchan and towards Bennachie hills.
Northfield Farm Museum
Old farm tools, beautifully restored stationary engines and various household items recall agricultural life in Victorian times.
Tiny one-street village with stone cottages and harbour. To the west, the road plunges down to Cullykhan Bay, where waves pound into huge clefts and caves. To the east, sheer cliffs of red sandstone provide nesting sites for numerous sea birds. Cliffs pitted with caves and tunnels, accessible at low tide.
Busy port with some 400 fishing boats and lively fish auctions each morning. Pink-granite town clus-ters around huge harbour that took more than 70 years to build, beginning in 1886. Ruined pre-Reformation church of St Peter stands among gravestones on South Road. Arbuthnot Museum in St Peter Street features display on local history. Trout fishing in River Ugie.
Thriving resort and haven for pleasure craft, with restored 17th and 18th-century harbour ware-houses. Look for souvenirs made from local red and green marble. Coastal walks lead west to Sand-end Bay, and east to mined 16th-century Boyne Castle.
Remains to be Seen
Museum in Quilquox featuring period clothes and fine display of porcelain. Special gardens were planted by an ornithologist to attract variety of birds. Children's play area.
One of Scotland's oldest seaports, surrounding peaceful harbour used by inshore fishermen. Open-air sea-water swimming pool, and golf course. Small museum has displays on local history. Impress-lye ruins of Pitsligo Castle, half a mile south, date from 1424. Pitsligo Church, 1 mile south, is noted for richly carved gallery.
Sleepy old fishing village where seals can be watched from rocky shoreline. Sea walls, battered by storms, still protect inshore fishing boats. Oatmeal mill at eastern end worked continuously for 200 years; closed in 1981.
Strichen Stone Circle
Impressive Buchan stone circle has been dismantled and re-erected many times in traumatic history. Near Mains of Strichen farm, half a mile west of village.
Towie Barclay Castle
Unique tower house, now in ruins, dating from 16th century. Upper storeys are no more, but remaining Great Hall is considered one of most imaginative of all tower-house interiors and is Gothic and medieval in inspiration. Visit by prior appointment.
Bustling, red-sandstone market town, created a burgh of barony in 1511. Ancient ruined church has elaborate double belfry built in 1635 and bell dated 1559.
White Cow Wood
Marked walks through spruce woods noted for badger setts and herons. Beyond, road down to Strichen yields view of Mormond Hill with white horse etched into slope; filled in with stones of gleaming white quartz.
Small fishing village built around thriving harbour. Harbour road leads east to Boyndie Bay, and stony track continues to Banff. Chalybeate spring just off track once part of fashionable 19th-century circuit for visitors 'taking the waters' around Banff.
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