Duration: 3.75 hours
This is an excellent walk on the coastline along the border between Moray and Aberdeenshire, an area which enjoys a benign micro-climate. The location is well sheltered by the Grampian mountains, and the Moray Firth, often making for pleasant weather conditions that attract day-trippers and holiday-makers. The route offers variety and historical interest, alongside stunning views. Cullen is an attractive large village. It has a long history, having been made a royal burgh around the end of the 12th C. The old village, which ran downhill from Cullen House and the “Auld Kirk” is long gone. Nowadays, there is a clear distinction between picturesque and colourful Seatown of Cullen, the fishing quarter, nestled into the broad bay and sweeping beach, and the grander “New Cullen” rising uphill and inland. These were planned settlements, built in the 1820’s, as was the fine harbour, built by Thomas Telford, to take advantage of the opportunities for trade and the booming herring industry. The route at first goes inland through farmland overlooking the coast before descending to Sunnyside Beach, a beautiful little stretch of golden sand and unusual rock formations, backed by grassy cliffs and sand dunes. From here the path ascends again to gain an unforgettable vantage point over the ruins of Findlater Castle, on a rocky promontory. Here, an information board usefully shows a representation of what the castle may have looked like in its hey-day. The first record of a castle here dates back as far as 1246. Re-constructed in the 1450s, it was abandoned in the 1600s. On the return leg along the coastal path we pass points of interest, “Charlie’s Cave”, and the “Giant's Steps beside an outcrop popular with rock-climbers.
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