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Friday, 15 October 2021

The North bit of north-east coast

Having covered half of this section of coastline in June, this was always going to be the more relaxing and easy part of the trip. It does not hurt that it is also much prettier and more quiet.

Last time I finished in Cullen, so that is where I started this time. It is a lovely town with easy parking, really interesting beach and its main claim to fame is "home to Cullen Skink". What the publicity conveniently glosses over is that this was a dish created in the face of starvation during long, dark, miserable winters when it is too dangerous to put boats out to sea: protein either from smoked haddock or beef scrapings and the potatoes which grow exceptionally well in this part of Scotland. On more than one occasion I found myself crawling along at 15-20mph behind a fully laden "tattie-wagon" (and thoroughly enjoyed the chance to go so slowly and look at the scenery, probably a view not held by the cars behind me).





From Cullen it was on to one of the highlights of the entire trip: Portsoy. The village had a wonderful feel to it and supports a thriving primary school, a tempting looking campsite, more shops & businesses than I expected and definitely seems like a real community. I can definitely see me returning here. It has been particularly difficult to select photos from the gazillions I took.









On another day I spent ages in Pennan. Reached down the narrowest, steepest of roads but happily there is a very large layby at the top of the village lane, big enough for two motorhomes and I stopped there. The walk down to the village was steep and I could have managed it in Bill but I am glad I chose not to. I had the best coffee of the whole holiday (other than that which I make myself) at Shona's Coastal Cuppie, played with her two awesome dogs, and had a most relaxing time. This might be the only time you see FaceAche at Bag End: link to Coastal Cuppie.

Not being very good with popular culture the fact that the film Local Hero was filmed here was completely wasted on me but that's what brings most visitors to the place. I am not sure you can call it a village - there are 11 fulltime residents in winter (there were 12 but Shona's daughter has moved) with the remaining houses being second homes and holiday rentals. The weather can be so foul that the coffee shed has to be physically dismantled and moved at the end of every season - the year the shed was left in place it was destroyed by the first big storm. Still want to live in a coastal idyll? It has been particularly difficult to select photos from the gazillions I took. ๐Ÿ˜










I enjoyed Pennan so much I didn't feel the need to repeat the experience a couple of miles further on and visit Covie, which is even smaller and completely car free. Even residents have to park half way up the cliff. But I could see it from Gardenstown . . . maybe I will go back one day?




Gardenstown, another village which clings perilously to the side of a cliff and was reached down another endless steep road with a couple of alarming hairpin bends which turned out to be much easier to drive up than down. Go figure? Larger than I expected, welcomed motorhomes (unusually the carpark offered safe overnight parking for £10) but not a patch on Portsoy.






The last place I spent a bit of time in was New Aberdour. Long empty beach and as I arrived early it was deserted except for a motorhome which I suspect had stayed the night. Massive carpark in relation to the size of the place, so I guess it gets busy in summer. I walked east towards what I thought would be a couple of caves. The one of the left turned out to be a rock arch typical of the geology of this area (Bow Fiddle Rock is probably one of the most well known). At low tide I would have been able to walk through the arch but I wasn't in the mood to get soaked or wait another couple of hours for the tide to go out a bit further.











Whilst peaceful and beautiful, Aberdour was really smelly, very unpleasantly so . . . the strandline was full of feathers and bones. Later I heard a horrible piece on Radio 4 about hundreds of dead birds, mostly guillimots, washing up on the east coast recently. The wildlife expert being interviewed said the birds did not appear to have died of starvation, or been poisoned, and no-one knew what was happening. Whilst most of the casualties were being washed up much further south I had to wonder if something to do with the tide patterns had brought some of the problem onto this beach. Sadly my memory of this place will be the unidentified and very disturbing stench.


So, that's the north-east coast of Scotland from Dundee to Inverness completed, and possibly my last trip of 2021. The majority of campsites close on 31st October and this year that is the weekend the clocks go back.

I live in the place that millions of people make great effort to visit each year - Bill and I need to get back into the habit of days out.






14 comments:

  1. It looks gorgeous there and that blue sky, wow. I checked out Faceache and Shona's two dogs are awesome just as you say. What a shame about the smell and those poor birds. I'll look forward to reading more of your adventures next year.

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    1. Thanks Eileen, both dogs were wonderful. The puppy is a serious handful and I did offer to take Oscar home with me so that Shona could concentrate on the little one . . .

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  2. I had to go and look up Cullen Skink (despite you already listing the ingredients๐Ÿ™„) because in my head I only noticed 'skink' which to me is a lizard and all I could think of was lizard soup !! I am tired! However the rest of your photos and lovely wafflings I read correctly (note to self ... concentrate!)

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  3. What specaular scenery! I absolutely love those steps, the rock formations and that amazingly blue sky and sea, it looks almost Mediterranean.
    I thought Cullen Skink as soon as I saw Cullen (that'll be my chef training) and loved Local Hero.
    I wonder what happened to those poor birds? xxx

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    1. Hi Vix, Portsoy and Pennan both felt almost Mediterranean and were stupidly warm for the time of year.

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  4. The weather looks fabulous and those little villages look really lovely. You got some great shots, I love the one with the dolphin sculpture. Kate's comment about the skink made me laugh :) A shame about the horrible smell, it could very well have been caused by rotting bird carcasses. I wonder what happened to the birds?

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    1. I think you would like Portsoy, so much history - I haven't published a fraction of the pictures I took.

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  5. What a great trip! It looks like the weather stayed beautiful for you. Wonderful photos :)

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    1. thank you Nikki. I was incredibly fortunate with the weather - 9 days and it rained twice, both times overnight.

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  6. Thanks for the photos..we have been thinking of exploring that way, high time we did!

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    1. One day I would like to explore further between Inverness and Fraserburgh - I know I have only scratched the surface.
      There is a much better blog about some of the area at https://adventuresinamotorhome.com/
      They did a similar trip to me in August this year.

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  7. That is a stretch of coast that I have never dawdled over. I have always been going somewhere or coming back from somewhere and never had the time to see the coastal villages. I would particularly like to see Pennan because I'm (or I was) a big fan of 'Local Hero'. It was enjoyable seeing your photos.

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    1. Hi Graham, Pennan is absolutely delightful and if you are a fan of the movie then definitely worth a visit. If you have time to look at the blog link in my comment above (to GZ) there is more information about Local Hero locations.

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