Coastal Walk: Cruden Bay to Peterhead
Date: Monday 26th December 2011
Time: 4Hrs 25Mins

I fancied a walk today to work off some of my overindulgence on Christmas Day. The weather forecast for the hills looked a bit pants, so I opted to swap hills for coast. The forecast for the North-East coast looked pretty-good so I drove this morning to Peterhead, the Blue Toon, where I parked beside the Health Centre/Hospital.

Walking the coast from Cruden Bay to Peterhead has been on my to do list for a number of years. To get to Cruden Bay, I caught the Stagecoach Bluebird bus (Cost: £2.70).

I got off the bus and started walking from the Kilmarnock Arms Hotel in Cruden Bay.

I didn't have a map with me today. This is normal practice for my coastal walks, as I like to explore .

Kilmarnock Arms Hotel, Cruden Bay:

From the Kilmarnock Arms Hotel, I made my way along Harbour Street to get a view of the wonderful beach at Cruden Bay.
Over the years, I’ve visited Cruden Bay many times. It is one of my favourite villages in the North-East.

Harbour Street and Water of Cruden:

The tide was quite far in today but the beach still looked good.

Bay of Cruden beach:

Bay of Cruden beach:

As I made my way towards the harbour, I left the road to follow a grassy track overlooking the harbour and heading in the general direction of New Slains Castle.

Looking back to Cruden Bay:

New Slains Castle in the distance:

It wasn’t long before I reached my first obstacle of the day. It turned out to be easy enough to descend to the burn which I managed to cross without getting my feet wet.

First obstacle:

I’ve visited New Slains Castle a number of times previously but never from the South; it was nice to get a different view of the castle.

From Wikipedia: “Bram Stoker was staying in a local hotel in Cruden Bay when he heard of Slains Castle - which he saw as 'the castle of the dead'. It may have helped to inspire his writing of the novel, Dracula.”

Approaching New Slains Castle:

New Slains Castle:

On reaching New Slains Castle, I had a good look around inside.

Inside New Slains Castle:

View from inside New Slains Castle:

From New Slains Castle, I followed the track towards the New Slains Castle/Meikle Partans car park. This track avoids a large inlet.

Looking back to New Slains Castle:

The next section of coast was quite familiar to me as I have climbed previously at a number of its crags: Fulmar’s Wall, Meikle Partans, Harper’s Wall and Grey Mare Slabs.

View towards Meikle Partans, Twa Havens and Dunbuy:

Looking back to New Slains Castle from Meikle Partans:

Meikle Partans is possibly the best crag on this section of coast. It has a good number of climbing routes ranging from Moderate to E4. The last time I climbed at Meikle Partans was in 2007.

Photo from 2007, Katrina ascending Constellation (Sev) at Meikle Partans:

From Meikle Partans, I made my way along the coast towards the Arch of Dunbuy.

Looking towards the Arch of Dunbuy from Meikle Partans:

In summer, the Arch of Dunbuy is usually covered in birds.

The Arch of Dunbuy:

Inlet at Dunbuy:

The next familiar ground I reached was Grey Mare. There are several 30m Diff routes on the slabs at Grey Mare.

Looking back from Grey Mare:

Photo from 2007, UKC meet to Grey Mare Slabs:

Photo from 2007, myself climbing at Grey Mare Slabs:

Photo from 2007, more climbing at Grey Mare Slabs:

I had not previously walked North of Grey Mare; I was now into new territory.

Looking along coast towards Arthur Fowlie and Bullers of Buchan:

Another arch:

I was a bit surprised to find cottages just above the cliffs at Bullers of Buchan.

Cottages at Bullers of Buchan:

Coastal footpath sign:

From Wikipedia: “The name Bullers of Buchan refers both to a collapsed sea cave and to the adjacent village, situated about 6 miles (9.7 km) south of Peterhead in Buchan, Aberdeenshire, Scotland.”

Bullers of Buchan sign:

Despite the weather being dry and sunny, it was quite windy and the ground underfoot was muddy in places. There are a number of places where you really wouldn’t want to slip during this cliff-top walk.

Rocks at Bullers of Buchan:

View along coast:

On reaching the inlet in the next photo, for the first time since leaving Cruden Bay, I dropped down to the shore.

Stony shore:

Looking back, New Slains castle just visible in centre of photograph:

On reaching the sign for Longhaven Cliff’s Reserve, I realised how far I had still to go.

I have only once climbed at Longhaven. This was over ten years ago so my memories of Longhaven were a bit vague.

Longhaven Cliff’s Reserve:

Next I came to a memorial to two men who died while climbing the cliffs here in 1967.

Memorial to James Paterson and Alexander Hamilton:

The rock from Cruden Bay to Boddam is superb; good quality red granite. There is a large water-filled quarry at Longhaven where a significant volume of this granite has been excavated.

Cliffs at Longhaven:

Cliffs at Longhaven:

Longhaven Quarry:

Peterhead Power Station Chimney visible in distance:

The section of walk from North of Longhaven to Boddam was possibly the least interesting section of the walk.

Looking back:

Rocks North of Longhaven:

Looking North:

Steps ascending steep section:

A short distance beyond the steps, I joined the old railway line track which I followed for a couple of hundred metres.

Highland cattle:

Approaching Boddam:

On reaching Boddam, I took a short detour to have a look at the remains of Boddam Castle.

Boddam Castle (ruin):

I then made my way round the village towards Buchan Ness Lighthouse.

Buchan Ness Lighthouse:

Buchan Ness Lighthouse:

From Buchan Ness Lighthouse, I made my way along a path just above the shore skirting round the power station.

Approaching Peterhead Power Station:

Boddam harbour:

Looking towards Peterhead:

Just beyond the power station was a short tricky section to reach Sandford Bay; the key is to stay high.

Looking back to power station from Sandford Bay:

I enjoyed the walk along Sandford Bay. Next I skirted below Peterhead Prison before making my way back to where I had left my car earlier in the day.

HMP Peterhead:

Peterhead South Bay Harbour:

Peterhead Marina:

Peterhead Fishermen’s Memorial:

Peterhead Bay:

This is one of the finest sections of coast in the North-East. If undertaking this walk, you need to take care as much of the walk is within feet of the edge of cliffs.