Lying on the far North-Eastern tip of Scotland, Fraserburgh is the biggest shellfish port in Europe. The first ever lighthouse in Scotland was built here on the site of a castle at Kinnaird Head which now forms the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses. Here, you will be treated to the rich cultural history of Fraserburgh and be able to take a tour of the lighthouse itself. There are plenty of restaurants in which to sample the seafood for which the town is renowned and a variety of places to stay.
Heading west on the route, the Moray Firth approaches. Like Pennan, made famous as the setting for the film, ‘Local Hero’, in Crovie villagers really do live life on the edge…of the North Sea. It is within a stone’s throw of the houses! One of the oldest and best-preserved fishing villages in Scotland, it has a narrow line of houses at the cliff line and is impassable by car. A sense of timelessness is prevalent here.
At Banff, the River Deveron enters the sea and creates a spectacular view across the waves to the neighbouring town of Macduff. Banff Museum exhibits the history of the area from the Celts to the modern day and the town has plenty of places to eat, making this a great place to stop for lunch, some culture and a paddle.
Moray is home to some of the finest golf courses in the world and if this is your sport of choice, it’ll be a tough decision which one to go for. Do you want to play on a course of champions with a seaview? If so, Castle Stuart is without comparison. There are a plethora of links within amazing settings in this part of Scotland.
Continuing along the route, Duff House, designed by William Adam, sits in stunning landscaped gardens. Discover the tale of two feuding Williams, walk a couple of miles to the Bridge of Alvey and see the Duff Ice House and Neo-Gothic mausoleum all within the same boundary. History is packed tightly into this Georgian mansion and its grounds.
Still with the coast on our right, we are led to Portsoy, a picturesque 17th-century fishing village that was the location for the remake of ‘Whisky Galore’, a 1949 Ealing comedy based on the novel by Compton Mackenzie. It is also home to the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival, a vibrant affair that attracts visitors from all over the country. Portsoy is also famed for its ice cream and it is worth stopping off just for a sample. With a music venue in the old Salmon Bothy and plenty of places to eat delicious seafood, Portsoy provides many reasons to take a break from the [NE250] route.
Findlater Castle, a prime example of nature reclaiming what humans leave behind, is nine miles west of Portsoy. Walk through bright yellow rapeseed fields to the sunken castle site where you must clamber down the cliff to see the spectacle and get a bird’s-eye view of beautiful coastal scenery.
We draw closer to the end of the Moray Firth stretch of the NE250 as we reach Cullen. Famous for its delicious fish soup, Cullen Skink, it is the epitome of a Scottish fishing village. It has been given the highest award for clean bathing waters in Europe and has the most impressive golden beach making this a great place for a seaside stopover.
Finally on this stretch of the Sunshine Coast is Spey Bay coastal reserve which brings us to the Speyside leg of the North East 250. The River Spey bisects the nature reserve and creates a changing environment that is home to marine life of many kinds from mammals such as seals, dolphins and otters, to birds like osprey, terns and waders. The Tugnet Ice House nearby is a massive construction that was used to house the area’s salmon catch before export and is an impressive site. The Speyside Way begins here, too, offering walkers a very special view of the riverscape.