Pennan, Local Hero Village Puffin Cottage Pennan

The Cottage
Pennan Village
Local Attractions
Pennan Pictures

Aberdour Church

Standing on the road to Aberdour Bay above the Dour Burn is one of the oldest churches to be found in the North of Scotland. Founded sometime as early as 575 AD by St.Columba and St.Drostan the present church is dated back to Norman times. Within the church is an old font rumoured to have held the bones of St Drostan, famed for his miracle cures, and among the gravestones can be found many Jacobean examples.

Cullykhan Bay

Cullykhan is a popular sandy bay to the west of Pennan. On a promontory above the bay lie the remains of the Bronze Age Fort Fiddes which has been described as one of the earliest industrial site in Europe. Archaeologists have found beads which suggest that the fort traded with continental Europe possibly as far back as 700 BC. From Fort Fiddes one has spectacular views over the sheer cliff face of Lion Head and the deep cliff side gash of Hell's Lum which leads to a sea tunnel drilled through solid rock. Cullykhan Bay is signposted off the B9031 and there is a car park with footpaths to the beach and the fort. There is also a rougher path, requiring care, to Hell's Lum.

Dundarg Castle

The remnants of the castle wall and its16th century gatehouse are located in a spectacular cliff top near Aberdour Bay. Dun Dearg (the Red Fort) was probably a Pictish fort before becoming a Celtic monastery of St. Drostan. In the13th century the Comyns built a stronghold here which was destroyed by Robert the Bruce in 1308 during the Harrowing of Buchan. The castle was fortified again on at least two occasions before being damaged in the 16th century War of the Rough Wooing when the English tried to force a marriage between Mary, Queen of Scots and King Edward VI. The ruins are now privately owned and not open to the public because of their fragile and dangerous condition.

Mess John's Well

A hard to find well at the west of Aberdour Bay which is named after John Whyte, a 17th century lay preacher who would stop here every Sunday on his journey from his farm at Ardlawhill to Aberdour Church. It is one of several such wells in the area which release water with a high iron content which was believed to cure various ailments.

Northfield Farm Museum

A unique private collection of historic farm machinery, implements and artefacts which convey the way of life in North East farms over the past 100 years. There is a large collection of tractors, engines and ploughs as well as unusual household items. The museum also houses an aviary and a reconstruction of a turn of the century smiddy and engineers workshop. Llamas and guanacos are the most recent attraction. Open daily May September 11am 5pm. Northfield is situated between New Pitsligo and New Aberdour and signposted from the A98.

St. Drostan's Well

This well is reputed to mark the spot where St. Drostan first landed at Aberdour Bay. The well is now protected by a stone canopy built in 1884 as a memorial to Andrew Findlater, a local man who was editor of Chamber's Encyclopaedia.

St. John's Chapel

On the slope of Gamrie Mhor to the west of Gardenstown, this ruined chapel is said to have been built by the Thane of Buchan in 1004 in fulfilment of a vow to erect a church to St. John the Evangelist if that saint would help him to defeat the invading Danes. The skulls of three of the Danish chiefs who were killed in the ensuing "Battle of the Bloody Pits" were inserted into the wall of the church and remained there "grinning and hollow" for more than 800 years. Within the ruins, a 1547 monument commemorates the death of Patrick Barclay of Towie whose family built Towie Barclay Castle and one of whose descendants was a Russian general in the Napoleonic Wars. The chapel is signposted off the B9031. A track leads to a small car park from where a further half mile must be travelled on foot.

Tore of Troup

This is a deep wooded ravine which runs inland from near Pennan for some eight miles. Its sheltered situation makes it a paradise for animal and plant life. Deer, foxes, badgers, mink and buzzards are just some of the species which the patient enthusiast may be able to view. Paths run along part of the Tore although the northern section is rough ground. Stout shoes and a good map are advisable and please remember that the Tore belongs to the wildlife and help to preserve it in its natural state.

Troup Head

A massive landmark of red cliffs rising to 365 feet. Troup Head is reached on foot through Northfield Farm and offers unrivalled views along the Moray Firth coast. Birdwatchers will find it an excellent place to view thousands of seabirds of numerous species in their natural habitat. Troup Head is one of only two mainland gannet colonies in the UK and features dramatic, expansive panoramic views along the Moray Firth and beyond. This important seabird colony contains significant populations of fulmars, gannets, shags, kittiwakes, guillemots, razorbills and there are even some puffins. Over 150,000 breeding seabirds are present here in the summer month. The site has recently been taken under the control of the RSPB


The Jane Whyte Memorial

This recently erected memorial is fixed to the ruins of an old woollen mill in Aberdour Bay. This was once the home of Jane Whyte who single handedly saved the lives of 15 men shipwrecked when the steamer William Hope ran aground in the bay during a great storm of 1884. Ignoring her own safety, she bravely struggled through raging seas to bring a line from shore to ship along which the seamen made their escape. She became a national heroine and received a number of awards for her bravery. Jane Whyte eventually died in 1918, aged 74, and is buried in New Byth Cemetery.

Gardenstown to Crovie

A well surfaced footpath running along the bottom of the cliffs which separate the two villages. The path is approximately one mile long and runs from the New Ground at the eastern seashore of Gardenstown. The first part of the path crosses a pebble beach. From Crovie it is possible to take another route back to Gardenstown along quiet, but steep, country roads.

Pennan to Aberdour

A signposted footpath which runs eastwards for a distance of three miles. The path starts at the east end of Pennan village, climbing up a steep gully before moving inland across farmland. The path joins a farm road before reaching a tarmac road just above Aberdour Church.

Cullykhan to Hell's Lum

A rough but signposted path which requires care at the beginning where it crosses a fast flowing stream. The path runs from the car park at Cullykhan, climbing up a hillside until a descent into the mouth of Hell's Lum. Once inside the lip of the lum a clamber over rocks brings you to the sea tunnel.

Aberdour Bay

A number of rough paths run westwards and eastwards along the shore from the bay. The most popular, and least strenuous, climbs from the east of the bay near St. Drostan's Well to the Boat Shore, a popular sandy beach which lies around the first headland.