of Scotland, Banff and Buchan
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 show traces of a prosperous
fishing industry in days gone by, and folk museums bring local
history vividly to life.
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.
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
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.
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.
created along line of old Buchan railway. Station yard at Maud
landscaped and picnic tables pro-vided. Some of Buchan's best
scenery; wildlife abounds.
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
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
Fine aromas of malt whisky
fill old distillery, founded 1826. Visitor centre, guided tours.
Rambling wildlife and
conservation park housing over 100 species of birds and animals.
Special breeding centre nurtures rare species. Pets' corner.
Forest clearing reveals
Buchan prehistoric stone circle -- central stone weighs about
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
market town, created a burgh of barony in 1511. Ancient ruined
church has elaborate double belfry built in 1635 and bell dated
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.