Coastal Villages of Aberdeenshire
Discover the northeast coast with our small group tour and we will visit some of the region's most dramatic coastline. Visiting a few of Aberdeenshire's most beautiful fishing villages, learn about its maritime past, influential characters and hero's
When: Monday & Friday (April - Oct) Departs 09:00 (Bookings must be made in advance)
Where: The William Wallace Monument in front of His Majesty's Theatre, Rosemount Viaduct
How long: 7.5 hours
Stop 1: Gardenstown & Crovie
The first part of our journey is to make our way through the Aberdeenshire countryside, to the coastal villages of Gardenstown and Crovie. Built into the red sandstone cliffs the villages have a special and remote atmosphere. From the lovely harbour and beaches you can look out over the Moray Firth and perhaps catch a glimpse of the dolphins that often swim in the bay.
The village of Gardenstown recently celebrated their 300th naming anniversary, so there is a lot of history in this small community built on the edge of the hillside. Gardenstown harbour has a fleet of small fishing boats and you can occasionally see men preparing their lobster pots for the next catch, as well as the Salmon House which contains the Heritage Centre. There are walks along the coastal path which take you to Crovie, that dates from the 18th century, a time when the sea was the only mode of transport. The smallest and most remote of Buchan cliff-foot fishing villages, it comprises a single row of houses, most gable-end to the sea.
Stop 2: Pennan
Pennan seems to have come into existence as a fishing village in the 18th century. The people of Pennan were dependent on the seaand most families had small boats for their own personal use. Where the men would catch the fish, it was usually down to the women and children to try to sell it to clients in the country.
Pennan became famous in the 1980s for being used as one of the main locations for the film Local Hero, and representing the fictional village of Ferness. Film enthusiasts have come from all over the world to make a phone call in the red telephone box which featured in the film. Today the village is mostly holiday accommodation and popular place for exploring rock pools and enjoying a restful break.
Stop 3: New Aberdour Beach
This small be interesting beach has limestone caves which were used to help conceal contraband that was smuggled into the northeast by fishermen and business men who had a thriving economy along the craggy coastline. One cave was also home to an infamous resident, Jock the Cave Dweller. Jock was a man named Edward Reid who moved into the cave in the early 1900's. He made New Aberdour his home and travelled the countryside trading with farmers and villagers for the supplies he needed.
Walk in his footsteps and explore the beach before we head off to our next stop.
Stop 4: Fraserburgh & Kinnaird Lighthouse
The town name means, 'burgh of Fraser', after the Fraser Family who bought the lands of Philorth in 1504 and built the family castle at Kinnaird Head. The castle was later altered to become one of the first lighthouses in the northeast of Scotland in 1787. You will have some time to walk around the headland and see the lighthouse for your self. Fraserburgh has some impressive civic buildings and very ornate civic fountain as well as Scotland's largest shellfish port.
One of Faserburgh's most notable residents is Thomas Glover. Thomas Blake Glover was born in Commerce Street in 1838. Later in life he would move to Japan and go on to be the founder of a ship building company which later became Mitsubishi. He is one of Fraserburgh’s most famous residents and demonstrate the entrepreneurial nature of the town which continues today.
Stop 5: Crudenbay & New Slains Castle
William Hay, 18th Earl of Erroll, established the fishing community of Port Erroll in the 1840s, but the tidal nature of the harbour restricted the size of boats which could operate from it and the village missed out on the herring boom. Tourism provided another source of income for the village. Even before the coming of the railway, the long pink curve of the Bay of Cruden sands and scenic cliffscapes to the north were attracting visitors.
Bram Stoker was a regular visitor and his Cruden Bay holidays provided him with the largest amount of spare time to write his books. He stayed at the Kilmarnock Arms Hotel in 1893 where he wrote the early chapters of Dracula and possibly most of the rest of it too.
An iconic feature of Cruden Bay is New Slains Castle, perched on the edge of the cliffs. The castle is a blend of several different architectural styles and periods. Most of the building was constructed and extended between 1597 and 1664. The castle fell in in ruin in the late 19th century and was eventually stripped of all contents and abandoned in the 1920s.
Stop 6: Collieston
The village lies just north of the Sands of Forvie Special Protection Area. Collieston was established as a fishing village by the 16th century, and it provides the first safe harbour in over fifteen miles of beaches and dunes stretching north from Aberdeen. Fishing for herring, haddock, whiting and cod flourished in the 17th century and 18th century and was the foundation of Collieston's economy. The village became known for 'Collieston Speldings', salted and sun-dried haddock and whiting, a popular delicacy.
The numerous sea caves and small coves with shingle beaches provided ideal terrain for smugglers. Learn about notorious smuggler Phillip Kennedy and his exploits while trying to outrun the exciseman. With several stories about shipwrecks and sunken submarine there are countless stories to tell about this little harbour just a stone's throw from the bustling city.
From £60 per adult
April — October
- Small Group (1-16)
Tour company information
Grampian Escapes & Tours Ltd
The Aberdeenshire region is one of such diversity; you can be at the beach, the mountains, woodland and rolling hills within a relatively short distance. We have chosen to host small tour groups to give guests a special experience. We want you to feel like you are part of our global family. Join us and let us show you why we love this place. We promise you’ll be made welcome and be well looked after making your visit memorable.
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