Slains Castle from Cruden Bay.

Start. Slains Castle car park.

Route. Cruden Bay - Slains Castle - Long Haven - Slains Castle - Cruden Bay - Main Street - Port Errol - Goats Hillock - Lorran Station - The Donnons - Cruden Bay.

Notes.This an unplanned walk along the cliff tops of the Aberdeenshire coast, visiting Slains Castle an imposing ruin high above the North Sea at the edge of Cruden Bay. Staggering coastal scenery, the sleepy harbour of Port Erral welcomed us on this short but stunning walk on our first day exploring Aberdeenshire.

After parking in the castle car park we joined the crowds heading through the sea fret (mist), it made for an eerie welcome to this vast ruin, cited as the inspiration for Bram Stoker's Dracula, following a visit by the author in 1895. After a good wander around the ruined shell we headed away from the crowd, a rocky headland welcomed us, we marveled at the rock architecture on show then strolled above Long Haven a large inlet cutting deep into the landmass, we then re-traced our steps back to the car park.

From the car park Main Street guided us to a sleepy harbour, Port Errol built in 1875 once played host to 68 boats and over two hundred fishermen, all ghosts now. We wandered to the southern corner of the harbour, here a faint path ascended the cliff, we ascended with it to join a green trod that guided us along the cliff edge, passed the wartime ruin of Lorran Station, a radar ground station in use between 1939 and 1944. We sat drinking coffee, eating lunch above a large inlet, Slains Castle and The Donnons an impressive rock formation dominated the scene, clear now the mist had lifted. Once refreshed we let the green trod guide us over boggy ground, through a gorse thicket, across the head of the inlet back onto the castle path in sight of the parked car.

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En route to Slains Castle.

Viewing The Donnons through the inlet, once damned mentioned in the text above.

Crop fields near Slains Castle.

Our first view of Slains Castle, eerie through swirling mist.

The jagged edge where land meets sea, a bit blunt under a blanket of sea fret.

Limited views down the coast from the approach to Slains Castle.

A large imposing ruin, known locally as New Slains Castle after Slains Castle further along the coast was abandoned.

In the blink of an eye, as quick as turning the lights on the mist has lifted revealing a stunning ruin built in the Scots Baronial Style.

Sue stops for a quick snap using this magnificent ruin as a back drop.

The south facade of the castle, just imagine the view from that large window. The core of the castle was a 16th century tower house, substantial re-construction has been carried out many times, significantly in 1837 when it was remodeled into a Baronial mansion.

Stunning views north along the Aberdeenshire coast, the rocky outcrop is actually a small island, Dunbuy.

The Water of Cruden viewed from the approach to the harbour.

Who knows if these are still in use, I'm guessing here but I'd say they're for stretching fishing nets across to allow them to dry.

Our lunch stop with The Donnons to the right and Slains Castle on the horizon.

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