The weather forecast for today was its usual mixture of sunshine and showers, maybe, with light winds except where they would be stronger!! The only constant seemed to be that, if there was going to be any sustained sunshine, it was going to be on the Banff coast. This isn't good for us since we live on the south-side of Aberdeen so the thought of spending the first hour of the journey in traffic is never very appealing. However every time we make the effort we talk about how we need to explore this area more often. Today would be no exception. Mo had been feeling a bit better this week but we decided on a flat walk rather than risking being half way up a hill only to turn back, so a coastal walk where the sun was predicted to shine seemed like a good idea. We were late leaving the house but at least the traffic had died back a bit and we took a longer, more coastal route via Fraserburgh to Banff and Portsoy. The plan had been to walk from Portsoy to Sandend then on to Findlater Castle and Sunnyside Beach, returning via the waymarked coastal path. However so late were we in getting to Portsoy that we decided that we'd find a cafe for some coffee and start the walk at Sandend, thereby cutting the distance in half.
As promised the weather had improved as we'd journeyed north and, although not yet sunny, it was beginning to make an effort. We parked in the public car park next to Sandend Caravan Park and walked up the unclassified road directly opposite. The road rises quite steeply and gives some good views back down along Sandend beach.
Looking back to Sandend
After about a mile or so the road flattens out, passing a field full of pigs, and the castle and castle car park is signposted off to the right past a derelict farm complete with dilapidated out building. You can buy it if you like since it had a for sale sign! The grass path now headed towards the sea, passing a Doocot that was associated with the castle. It was restored in 1992 and although you can't actually get in you can see inside and there's also an information board. Amazingly it has some 700 nesting boxes so must have been pretty noisy - and smelly- in its heyday!
Beehive shaped Doocot
Around 700 nest boxes
From here it was only a short walk to the view point for the castle. Built sometime in the 16th Century, it must have been an impressive structure and a fantastic piece of engineering for its day. There's little left to see now but the information board at the viewpoint gives a good background to its history and has a picture representation showing the probable layout.
Not much left to see
From the castle viewpoint the route back to Sandend was along the cliffs to the east, but we decided to visit the wonderfully named Sunnyside Beach so headed west, still following the coastal path until skirts a small secluded bay and drops down onto the beach.
The path continues along the beach then back up onto the cliffs at the far end but this was the extent of our walk today so we settled down out of the wind and had our lunch. From here we made our way back to the castle viewpoint and followed the waymarked coastal path east towards Sandend. The sun had decided to come out but the wind was still strong and took away any warmth there might have been, but it was pleasant enough with some nice coastal views.
From the Coastal Path......
The path winds its way along the cliff tops, eventually coming back into Sandend just above the old harbour. Since the walk had been relatively short today we spent some time exploring the village and ate the last of our chocolate sitting out of the wind by the harbour wall. It had been an interesting if very short walk by recent standards. We had left the car around midday, arriving back just before three o'clock.