(194) Findochty-Portessie Circuit (Moray)

Route Summary
An enjoyable undulating walk along the coastline and cliffs heading west from the former fishing village of Findochty. On a clear day there are views of the faraway Caithness coast. The return leg on an old railway line is on level ground, at a higher elevation, with good views all around.

Duration: 2.75 hours.

Route Overview
Duration: 2.75 hours.
Transport/Parking: Regular 35/38 bus service between Buckie and Findochty. Check timetable. On-street parking in Findochty near walk start/end point. Free public car-park at start/finish of walk.
Length: 7.61 km / 3.78 mi. Height Gain/Loss: 96 meter.
Max Height: 46 meter. Min Height: 0 meter.
Surface: Moderate. A mix of tarred pavements , hard-surfaced and sandy paths. The circuit is not suitable for off-road mobility scooters due to steep and narrow stepped paths.
Difficulty: Easy/Moderate.
Child Friendly: Yes, if children are used to walks of this distance.
Dog Friendly: Yes, but keep dogs on lead on public roads.
Refreshments: Admiral’s Inn pub in Findochty. Options in Buckie.

This is a pleasant and invigorating walk along the attractive coastline between the former “Old Banffshire” fishing villages of Findochty and Portessie, returning through open country on the old railway line, now a cycle-way and footpath. On a clear day you are likely to enjoy views across the Moray Firth to the Caithness hills, picking out the conical shape of Morven, over 80 km away. Findochty (pronounced “Finechty”) traces its history back to a royal charter in the mid 15thC. In the early 18thC, the local landowner developed the beginnings of a fishing industry, and by 1850 it was home to around 150 fishing boats. But the harbour expansion at nearby Buckie provided safer berths and access to a busy fish-market so that, by 1890, Findochty was declining as a fishing port. Findochty harbour now has a marina for leisure craft and is a very pretty and attractive spot, particularly when the sun shines, as it often does on this sheltered stretch of the Moray coast. In 1959, a local artist, Correna Cowie, created a very striking white-painted statue of a seated fisherman, known as “The Mannie”, who casts a protective gaze over the old harbour. At an early stage on the route we pass the inlet called the “Crooked Hythe”, hythe being an old word for a natural harbour and hauling-in place for boats. James Herd and Thomas McKenzie started building boats at the Crooked Hythe in Findochty in 1903. Amazingly, between 1905 and 1915 they built and launched 32 steam drifters at this tiny cove. The turning point on the walk is the old fishing village of Portessie, now effectively the eastern end of Buckie. Portessie dates from 1727 when fishermen from Findhorn settled there. It is commonly nicknamed “the Sloch”, due to the name of the original settlement being Rottenslough. On the return to Findochty there is a good view of the ruins of Findochty Castle, a ruined 16th century L-plan tower house.

Photos from walk
Download Route Guide (PDF with illustrated Waypoints)
Download GPX file (GPS Exchange Format)
Access Walk on OutdoorActive
Access Walk on OSMaps
Access Walk on Alltrails
Access Walk on Wikiloc

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