The Buchan coast

Coastal scenes

The main trunk road from Aberdeen to Inverness passes in an almost straight north-westerly line through the towns of Inverurie, Huntly, and Keith. To the north and east of this line is a triangle of land, standing on its southern vertex at Aberdeen, with its north-western vertex at Lossiemouth, and north-eastern vertex at Fraserburgh. The coast of Buchan is contained within the two coastal sides of the triangle.

Starting from Aberdeen, following the coast road it is possible to visit long, golden, sandy beaches at Balmedie and Newburgh, and beyond, the villages of Collieston and Whinnyfold, the little town of Cruden Bay, famous for its perfect sandy bay overlooked by one of the great golf courses of the world, then to the Bullers of Buchan a great natural cauldron in the cliffs, where the water seems to boil when it is stormy, where colonies of a profusion of seabirds nest in the Spring and Summer, onward to the deep water harbour at Peterhead and the fishing port of Fraserburgh, by which point the road has turned almost due west, and passes by a series of villages that thrived on the fishing in the 19th century but which are supported now in other ways.

The series includes Rosehearty, New Aberdour, Pennan, Crovie, Gardenstown, and the road leads to the towns of Macduff and Banff, the village of Whitehill and the town of Portsoy. The villages of Sandend and Fordyce are close by Portsoy: Sandend a fishing village beside a lovely sandy bay; Fordyce, jewel of a village, clustered round a pretty little castle, about a mile inland.

From Fraserburgh westwards, along the flat top of the triangle, the vistas of sea and cliff are magnificent in all weathers, but glorious in the Summer sunshine.

Cruden BayFraserburghGardenstown
The Bullers of BuchanRoseheartyBanff and Macduff
PeterheadNew AberdourPortsoy
Rattray HeadPennanSandend and Fordyce
Inverallochy and CairnbulgCrovie

The villages and towns of Buchan

A street scene

The originally unforgiving and barren land of Buchan has been cleared and cultivated by generations of farmers and improving landlords. In the 18th and 19th centuries feus were rented at low rates to attract people to live and work in Buchan. A consequence of this movement was the improvement of ancient villages and the building of new planned villages; evidence of this is the prevalence of the prefix New on many of the village-names: New Aberdour, New Leeds, New Pitsligo, New Deer, and so on. Many of these villages retain much of their 18th and 19th century architecture and structure and have a unique, if rather austere charm.

In order of distance from Old Deer are the villages of Stuartfield, Mintlaw, Maud, Longside, Strichen, New Pitsligo, New Deer, New Leeds and Cuminestown, and the town of Turriff. They all have interest, partly because of the variety of building stone, but also because they reflect the period from 1750s to the middle of the last century when these villages were still self-contained communities, each one with its own character.

StuartfieldNew DeerEllon

Geography and history

Old Deer: A local scene

This section contains notes about the village and places of historical interest within a few miles of the village as well as personal reminiscences and histories.

The village of Old DeerOld postcardsBram Stoker at Cruden Bay: Gothic horror in the Summer holidays
More on Old DeerGrowing up in Old DeerRhynie and Tap o' Noth
The Abbey of St Mary of DeerBurnett Stuart of Dens and Crichie: Glimpses of a family historyThe Buchan horsemen and their secret society
Aikey BraeThe stone circle at StrichenThe castles of Buchan
The Kemp HallCherry-cocking in Buchan

Bed and breakfast

More details of accommodation providing bed and breakfast will follow shortly.

The Old Bank House, Old Deer

Local shops

More details of local shops and businesses will be added here, in due course.

Orb's bookshop, Huntly