The Bullers of Buchan

Nobody is certain about the etymology of Bullers. According to one authority, the word is derived from the French bouillir, which means to boil, another argues that the word is Scots and means a rushing sound. While there is uncertainty about the word there is nothing uncertain about the thing. The pot at the Bullers of Buchan is a huge, natural amphitheatre in the cliffs beside the hamlet, a circular hole in the cliffs that opens at its northern end through a natural arch into the sea. In a storm the water the in pot seems to boil, dashed by the fury of the winds through the narrow arch where the pot opens into the North Sea, so perhaps there is something to be said for the suggestion that Bullers has something to do with boiling.

Beyond the village is a long sweep of dramatic cliffs where a profusion of seabirds nest. The clifftops in the Spring glow with wild flowers in some of the most dramatic and beautiful coastal scenery in Scotland.

The hamlet of Bullers of Buchan comprises three rows of houses arranged in lines parallel to the edge of the cliff. The cottages were built at the edge of the cliff where there is a narrow ravine-like cove, almost directly below, and a relatively easy route up the cliff from the sea to the village, so the village was probably sited there to make use of the natural amenities for fishing.

Some of the cottages are inhabited by residents of the area, but nobody can make a livlihood with boats small enough to be grounded and unloaded at the cove; others are holiday cottages, some of which have dramatic views from their seaward windows.

(Revision date: Friday 16th March 2012)




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