A high speed wind was hurtling through the sea cave at New Aberdour beach as I took the photo above. I nearly blew over. But it was worth it to capture that combination of dark and light and blue and black. That tunnel of transition from enclosed space to open sea.
The beach is never busy, being a bit far from main roads and civilisation. I do recommend seeking it out if you are ever in Northern Aberdeenshire. It has sandy bits for summer picnics and sunbathing. There are stony bits that noisily orchestrate the retreat of the waves.
Then there’s the magnificent caves:
Some entrances are almost hidden…
This next one I always avoid. I once overheard a highly respected educational psychologist, who I knew from my time working in schools, emotionally blackmailing a small child to defecate in there. Such memories are off-putting, plus, the roof is rather head-bangingly low…
But New Aberdour beach as a whole is lovely. Apart from the car park, there is no sign of the modern day, you could be meandering through any time, any era.
Some specific points in history and local folklore are marked. St. Drostan is said to have landed at New Aberdour in 580AD. His well:
The Heroine of New Aberdour Beach
And the heroic actions of one Jane Whyte, who rescued fifteen men from a shipwreck in 1886, are commemorated in the remains of her little cottage:
When the tide is out the rockpools display all manner of sea life from minnows to sea slugs, starfish, pipefish and anemones. Tide allowing again, you can walk for miles round bay after bay. Do watch the sea though, there’s no mobile phone reception down there if you get stranded. Sometimes you catch sight of dolphins and whales.
I sound like a guidebook, a representative of Scottish tourism… but I’m not.
I’ve visited this place at times of trauma and felt negativity drain away into the pink rocks. I’ve lain on the sand reading books during hot relaxing summers while my children explored the pools and searched for cowrie shells. And I’ve introduced all my friends to the beach. So memories of New Aberdour are mixed up with those of my favourite people.
I write about the beach. Of course I do 🙂
Isobell rides her horse there in the THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR:
“We walked along grassy clifftops and looked out at the sea, a sea that was some days brilliant blue, others stormy grey; green and pink stones showed in the shallows by the craggy bays. We saw dolphins. We saw seals. I waved and called out to my brown-eyed friends.
The wind swept us clean, leaving the taste of salt on our lips and our manes wild and unkempt. We only went down onto the sandy beaches; I would risk some things, but not Selkie feet on rocky shores. We found places where waves crashed so high they shot out of the very land itself. They roared in celebration of their watery power; I instinctively hugged tight to my horse’s neck then as she reared up with the waves in some Kelpie joy of her own.”Excerpt from THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR by Ailish Sinclair
I love the beach.
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22 Replies to “New Aberdour Beach: caves, folklore and a heroine”
I have so many places I’ve yet to explore in Scotland but the beach at Aberdour is definitely now added. What beautiful pictures. Thank you for sharing.
beauty. sea. me. thank you.
Thank you Joanne and Kim, I’m glad you like 🙂
Our family has always loved the beach at all seasons of the year. Because we live in Yorkshire, our main haunts are on the rugged coastline around Whitby, such as Robin Hood’s Bay and Staithes. There is history and magic here. I don’t know New Aberdour, or its beach, but we have sailed around the Western Isles and the beaches there are just impossibly beautiful. As you suggest, mental anguish abates as soon as you set foot on these elemental places. Love your pictures.
I love Robin Hood’s Bay, have visited it twice and would like to again 🙂 Yes, the Western Isles do have a great peace about them… I feel a yearn to travel again…
Funny I would have never associated cowrie shells with Scottish beaches. You learn something every day. You can’t beat the beach. Walks on beaches are my soul food – I don’t do nearly enough. Louise
Yes, beach walks are so wonderful. Cowries are quite a rare find here.
I’m looking forward to visiting Scotland some day. The landscape is marvelous.
I hope you get the chance 🙂
Such a beautiful place Ailish!
It is 🙂
Thanks for sharing. Those caves are beautiful!
They really are beautiful places.
I’ll have to visit them one day.
Well worth a trip.
Beautifully written & vividly captured. I love Scotland. Thank you, Alilish.
Glad you like 🙂
It seems a lovely place to get re-energized and inspired.
It really is.
Beautiful, Ailish. You do such a fantastic job of describing Scotland. I enjoy your posts so much!
Thank you. I’m so very glad 🙂