We left Irene’s with a mission to fit in as much as we could for the day. First cab off the rank was the Buller’s of Buchan, which was v. v. exciting, as there are about three things in this world named after our last name Buchan. In Scotland however, it is lovely because we don’t have to spell out our last name all the time and its always pronounced correctly! Perks of having a Scottish heritage! What we didn’t realise is that there is an entire Buchan coastal route of the North-Eastern coast of Scotland, AND a bus line named after us… We were thrilled!
We followed our coastal road (yep I’m claiming it as my own) until we reached the spot where the Buller’s were supposed to be. There was a small car park and two tracks leading off in different direction so we took a punt and went for the one heading to the waters edge. It was about a five-minute walk to the edge and we were in awe of the rocky, cliff-faced coastline. The bright green grass contrasting with the dark brown cliffs were dramatic and sheer. It was surprisingly quiet though. There wasn’t much wind and the water was almost still. I had expected rough waters thrashing up again the cliffs but the quietness was somewhat peaceful.
The Buller’s of Buchan refer to the collapsed sea cave and the adjacent village. It’s a pretty impressive bit of rock formation and also home to various kinds of seabirds, including puffins, fulmars and kittiwakes. I was hoping to see a puffin but unfortunately we were there at the wrong time of the year. We walked along the coastline a bit, taking the token photos with ‘our’ Buller’s before jumping back in the car to our next stop, the Pitmedden Gardens.
The Pitmedden Gardens were about a 45 minute drive from the Buller’s, and we reached them in time for a light lunch before exploring the gardens. Shared a delicious sweet potato and coconut soup and a dang good Malteser Slice. We headed out into the gardens and was severely impressed by the detail and design in these flawless renaissance gardens. Dating back to 1675, the gardens were inspired by Charles’ II garden at Holyrood House in Edinburgh.
Now owned by the National Trust, the grounds of Pitmedden are impeccably maintained and open to the public all year round. I was particularly impressed with the geometric designs and the brightly coloured snapdragon flowers. Reminded me of my grandmas old house where I used to play with the snapdragon flowers.
We jumped back in the car and drove towards our next stop – the Craigevar Castle. This castle stuck out to us due to pink colour and fairytale-esque looking design. Still in Aberdeenshire, we reached Craigevar in about an hour and rushed down the leafy, tree lined path until we reached the castle. Delighted that it actually was a light pink, we waited for the guided tour to start in the only way we knew how. By taking many, many photos of the castle!
Our tour guide was a young girl who knew so much about the history of Craigevar and the surrounding towns. The castle has stood like it is today since 1626. It was a family residence for over 350 years until it was handed over to the National Trust in 1963 and has been a delight for tourists to discover in Scotland ever since.
After the castle we jumped back in the car and winded through the bendy and hairpin-filled roads until we reached our perch for the night. We had literally closed our eyes and pointed some on the map and landed on the popular little town of Newtonmore. We were staying at the Balavil Hotel, which served a rather scrumptious chocolate cake. The town stretched out along the main road and seemed to be popular with hikers and outdoorsy folk. Unfortunately we were flying through, so we barely got a chance to experience this cute little village.
Tomorrow morning we are off to find the Loch Ness Monster! Hope she’s feeling friendly!