Buckie to Cullentrail running

A crisp but windy December day sees me disembarking from the Aberdeen Hillwalkers bus on the moray firth at Buckie, for a coastal route heading east to Cullen. I’ll be running today, to fit in some extra exploration and diversions along the way.

Starting past Cluny Harbour
Along the coastal road a remnant of war time built in to a rock face
Many of the cottages and older buildings along the road have a quaint pastel-block look
Beyond the outer reaches of Buckie

At the outer limits of Buckie, there’s a path heading along the coast so I diverge to that rather than stay on the fairly busy road

Outside ‘Bijou by the sea’ cafe
Didn’t see any seals today on the rocky outcrop, a fairly rough sea today though
A stiff breeze lashing waves off the rocks
In a sheltered alcove, sea foam has built up
After rumbling over rocks n pebbles, I run out of beach as the tide is pretty high

With the tide out you could probably stick to the water all the way along, but today will require ducking up and down through nooks in the cliffs

Aha another way down and around

Across a wee bridge spanning an inlet of frenzied white water

A natural ampitheatre provides a sheltered nook for a game of fitba
Rockface on an outcrop coming into Findochty has become a totem
Entering Findochty, a fitting symbol for a seafaring toon

Findochty (pronounced Fin-eck-tay) is one of many small villages clinging to the shoreline along the Moray coast

Outer wall taking the brunt of the waves
The White Manny, by local artist, Correna Cowie
A popular harbour for leisure boats
A look down some of the winding streets beside the harbour, also sporting the pastel brick patchworks
A small hill overlooks the bay
East end o Findochty
The sea is a cruel mistress. One is never far from a reminder in these sea faring towns
Onwards east from Findochty
A cormorant rests above the cliffs

I headed onwards east from the town, back on the good path of the Moray Coast Trail, which climbs high above cliffs. The OS map indicated caves peppered along the next stretch so I kept an eye open for gulleys and easy hillsides to descend for a nosey

Cycle route sign
Gorse pupil
A squishy gap, part burn, part animal track, heads down
Flattens out to a craggy bay

The stone foreshore roars and hisses as deep surges push shoals of pebbles
The local wildlife rest up

At Tronach head which juts out, a scrubby slope allows access down.

Heading down
Quick look, only goes in a few metres

Another small gap.. in for a look

Opens up a fair bit inside
Out we go
Another pebbley cove. Tide height prevents further exploration west to more caves around the corner

I notice this succulent looking plant – scurvy grass. High in vitamins but a quick nibble (eesht very bitter mustardy taste) persuades me to stay un-nourished from this source
The sea thunders round the rocks

Another few corners takes me into Portknockie
A happy painted roof

A substantial natural crag protects the harbour

The man made extension taking the brunt

On the path heading east 2 tapestry fishes
A high promontory with a flattened area used to be a fort, first of a few informative signs along the path
Second sign about more of the shore
Next up is the local landmark, a large sea arch
Bow Fiddle Rock is a substantial chunk, larger than I remember from many years ago. Today’s conditions not ideal for a decent photo

Crank the exposure time up a bit

Without a tripod or ND filter as best as I can do

I spend a bit of time exploring the shore near Bow Fiddle rock looking for a good angle for a decent shot, but the rough seas, high tide and strong wind make it difficult. A wider angle lens would be good here

A nearby tunnel almost geiger-esque smoothed black rocks. Careful footing required as the swells rush in and out
Heading on, past ‘whales mouth’

Winding back down to the shore. The last section of craggy bits before the flat shore of Cullen

The path disappears into a jumble of rocks, splashed by waves.. I watch for a bit to time a passage.. wouldn’t fancy a dook today
Cullen coming into view in the distance

past Jenny’s well
Past some cliffs which are popular with climbers. Who was St. Duane?
His den seems popular with the local kids, judging by the bonfire and drinking litter
A closer look
A look out the side

And the front

What Duane saw

Clear of the crags, a golf course marks the outer perimeter of Cullen. A large sandstone shard and an outlying cock-jobby obelisk act as a hazard. There’s some blocked off gates into the rock, perhaps unsafe caves

This would be a pleasant beach on a summer’s day

A fine old railway (now path) viaduct spans the river
I stop for a snack and a coffee at this groovy wee trailer ‘Coffee at the Kings‘ perfectly timed as I’m beginning to flag. Delicious stuff. The Kings – refers to the ‘3 kings’ 3 rock stacks protruding from the beach

Weathered tree stump deposited by a storm of the past

A quick pano of the bridge and time to get running again

With time to kill before the walkers catch up I’ll be heading upstream

Climbed on to the viaduct, good view

On the other side of the road below, I can see a folly marked as ‘temple’ on the map: Temple of Pomona. Due to the steep roadside, not easy to get to, so I pass on a closer look today

Over the bridge


Bridge buddy

Last view of the sea for a while, heading inland

Cross the Burn of Cullen and various side-streams

At Claypot’s bridge I diverge from the burn and make down tree lined lanes
The ‘Cullen House Home farm‘ is an interesting building

Part old and part new

Another fine tree-lined lane

Cullen House. Converted into private dwellings, there’s various ‘geroffmoi land’ type notices to dissuade us peasants from approaching closer

Nonetheless with no hoity-toitys in view, and not wearing anything too lurdily coloured, I stealth over a wall to join a path leading into the undergrowth, first affording a view of the fine bridge
The path winds along the top of the burn, overgrown in places, past a quaint little bridge

Old stone, moss, fallen leaves, still water. Lovely.
Tempted further upstream, I happen across this remarkable structure from 1863, a cast iron bridge

The aged iron blends nicely with nature

Running low on time, that’s as far south as I make it, back through some nice woods, then past the other side of the house.
There’s an old graveyard/kirk but out of time to give it an explore

Leaving the estate along a long entry gallery, I entered Cullen (which moved from it’s origins beside the house, to beside the sea). 

Looking down to the harbour
Some sort of lighthouse monument

A rummage of oddities outside a shop catches my eye, and instead of seeking the pub I am lured inside Cullen Collectibles where I end up buying a bag full of bric-a-brac. Not often I go home with more stuff than I came with. Rounded off a good day out with a lot more variety than your normal coastal path

A cornucopia of whimsiterica

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