Vikings and Mermaids at the Beach

sea at Fraserburgh beach - vikings and mermaids

Sky. Sea. Sand. Vikings and mermaids. It’s been a summer of these. Even on dull days it’s been warm, and walks on the beach, beautiful. I’m donning the tour guide hat, and we’re going to explore some beaches, cliffs and caves.


rainbow over the coast: vikings and mermaids

Let’s walk the coast route between Banff and Whitehills. We get rained on, but we get a rainbow.

Below is the Red Well. More on that here as it features in SISTERS AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD (out now!).

The Red Well, Whitehills


No time to linger at the well today as we’re skipping along to Gardenstown and St John’s Kirk. There it is, up on the hill between cloud shadows.

St John's Kirk, Gardenstown - vikings and mermaids

There is an exciting tale of local ladies winning a battle with the Vikings in 1004 by weaponising their stockings with rocks and sand. Three Viking skulls were subsequently built into the walls of the then under-construction Kirk.

The coast as seen from the walls of St John's Kirk, Gamrie - Going Coastal with Ailish Sinclair North East Scotland Beaches

Today it’s a peaceful place, though the landscape is probably much the same as it was during the era of battling lassies and Viking warriors.

landscape at Gamrie

New Aberdour

Time for a picnic and an exploration of the various bays at New Aberdour.

New Aberdour: North East Scotland Beaches

Let’s lie on the ground and gaze up at the red rocks and blue sky above.

rocks and sky: North East Scotland Beaches

We watch, entranced, as sand martins dart in and out of their nests. Whoops, forget to cover the homemade pizza so it’s now covered in sand.  Never mind, just time for a poke around in a rock pool before we go…

rock pool: vikings and mermaids


Okay. Shoes off. We’re searching for vikings and mermaids. We’re going to race along the golden shore at Fraserburgh, getting the sand right up between our toes. If we’re feeling energetic we can climb Tiger Hill, that large dune to the right, and enjoy enhanced views of the beach and town.

reflective clouds at the coast: North East Scotland Beaches

A reflective moment.

Fraserburgh beach - reflections at the coast

St Combs

Calming right down now. We turn the corner. Out comes a book and a bar of chocolate as we sit on the rocks at St Combs.

St Combs beach: vikings and mermaids

Walking boots on for this next part…


The Bullers of Buchan: Mermaids!

On we go, past Peterhead, to seek out mermaids at the Bullers of Buchan. There are folk tales of them being spotted here in the cave known as the Sea Cauldron:

the sea cauldron - vikings and mermaids!

It’s actually quite a dangerous place, with cliff edges all round, so do take care.

The coast at the Bullers of Buchan: vikings and mermaids

We’ve come to the end of our coastal odyssey. Just one more stare at that silvery sea from the Bullers, and then it’s home for a cup of hot chocolate.

The coast at the Bullers of Buchan - Ailish Sinclair, author: vikings and mermaids

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61 Replies to “Vikings and Mermaids at the Beach”

  1. Beautiful! Where did you stay? Or was this a day trip? I’ve got to locate this coastal area on a map. Must visit!

  2. Thank you for the tour. These are breathtaking photos. Must have been amazing to be there. <3 (It seems a lot of places were built to be aligned for sunrise or sunset on the summer or winter solstice.)

  3. The photos are lovely! They make me “homesick” for another trip to Scotland — the land of my ancestors. I probably won’t get there again from North Carolina, which makes me enjoy your photographs even more. Thanks for sharing.

  4. A really good advert for tourism in Aberdeenshire – our coastline and history seem to be a well-kept secret, aided and abetted by Visit Scotland’s obsession with castles and distilleries. But why did you bypass the coast around Peterhead? Scotstoun beach is lovely. There is a fabulous RSPB nature reserve at the Loch of Strathbeg (between Fraserburgh and Peterhead) and you can walk from the mouth of the Craigewan Estuary past bonnie beaches right into Peterhead. Looking for history? The Peterhead Town Trail covers over 500 years of events, stories and scurrilous gossip, from clandestine royal visits, rebellion and piracy, to plague, witchcraft and Peterhead’s answer to the Hellfire Club. Looking forward to reading your next adventures!

  5. Thank you for reminding me that the place I live in is so beautiful, sometimes we get so complacent and forget to appreciate the beauty around us….thanks for the kick up the bum!

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