Coastal Walk: New Aberdour to Pennan (and back)
Date: Friday 6th March 2015
Company: Just myself
Distance: 13.4km, Ascent: 710m
Time: 3Hrs 30Mins

Today, I should have been walking the hills around Inverie, Knoydart. However, having lost my dad less than two weeks ago I really didn't feel up to it. The forecast of torrential rain and 90mph winds was also somewhat off putting.

As the weather wasn't looking too bad in the East, I decided to walk a section of Aberdeenshire coast. Having previously walked the coast from Forres to Fraserburgh, with the exception of a short section between New Aberdour and Pennan, I set out for New Aberdour to complete this stretch of coast.

Coastal Walk index

I parked in the large car park at New Aberdour beach.

Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

From the car park I set off walking along the shore using the small bridge to get across The Dour.

New Aberdour beach:

Beyond The Dour I stopped to read the plaque on a memorial. The plaque is set on the only remaining wall of what was her croft.

Memorial plaque to Jane Whyte:

From the memorial, I continued along the shore for circa 100m before starting my ascent up to the cliff top. The terrain was not entirely pleasant with a mix of tussocks and gorse to negotiate. It didn't take long to reach the top of the cliff from which I enjoyed the views out towards Rosehearty.

Looking back along the coast from New Aberdour beach to Rosehearty:

A short distance on, I was surprised to find a track which I followed initially downhill and then back uphill. The uphill section of track was overgrown with gorse.

Following a track:

I left the track in order to follow the edge of the cliffs. The next two kilometres of cliffs were outstanding.

Looking towards Strahangles Point:

Looking back along the coast:

I thought Strahangles Point was nice so I stopped to take several photos. However, the best was yet to come.

Strahangles Point:

Strahangles Point:

Islands at Strahangles Point (zoom):

My photos do not do justice to the next section of cliffs. In my view, these are the most impressive cliffs between Aberdeen and Inverness.

Impressive cliffs:

Impressive cliffs:

Looking down to small islands:

Until now I had walked the cliff-side of the fenceline. I decided to cross over the fence to the farm side as the ground was becoming wet and slippery and this was no place for a slip.

I suspect the trig point here is not frequently visited.

Trig point:

Cliffs beyond trig point:

Having reviewed the map before setting out, I knew there was a potential difficulty ahead in that there was a gully to negotiate. On reaching the gully, I had to walk back inland to bypass it. The gully is completely covered in waist to chest high gorse. On reaching the end of the gully I encountered another problem. Cattle!

The field on the other side of the gully had numerous cattle in it. I therefore decided to cross through the field next to it but it also contained lots of cattle. The fields beyond these fields also had cattle in them! I didn't want to turn back so opted to cross through the left field. This turned out to be a very good choice as the cattle in the field I entered ran away from me while at the same time three large bullocks in the field next to me charged towards me. I was really glad of the fence being there.

I then reached the track leading to Pennan Farm, which is part of the public footpath between New Aberdour and Pennan.

Heading for Pennan Farm:

Beyond the farm, I entered another field to head back down to the cliffs. I was again in a field with cattle but they were some distance away.

Looking back towards cattle:

I lost count today of the number of barbed-wire fences (known locally as spiky pellans) that I had to climb over.

Cliffs at Pennan Head:

Looking towards Troup Head:

It was nice to get my first views of Pennan. I now had to find a way of getting back down to sea level. I could see the Pennan Inn from above and was looking forward to lunch and a drink there.

Looking down to Pennan:


On skirting round the cliffs I again reached the public footpath between New Aberdour and Pennan, which I followed down to the village.

Public footpath to Pennan:

I was really disappointed to find the Pennan Inn closed. Not open until 10th March 2015. Only four days away!

Pennan Inn:

I took a photo in the Local Hero phone box before starting my walk back to New Aberdour.

The film Local Hero shows the exterior of the Pennan Inn. However, the footage inside the inn is actually inside the Ship Inn, Banff. The Ship Inn, Banff is a great pub that is open all year round unlike the Pennan Inn!

I didn't take any photos during my walk back along the public footpath from Pennan to New Aberdour. The public footpath is nowhere near as interesting as the cliff top route but is definitely less dangerous.

Spring was in the air today - wild primroses in bloom and skylarks singing overhead .