The local tourist board is calling the Banffshire Coast, the coastal stretch between Pennan in the east to Cullen to the west, “Scotland’s best kept secret” and “Scotland’s treasure”. After my recent trip to the area I think of it more as “The Neglected North”. I say this for two reasons, it is overlooked by visitors in the north east who are more likely to stay on the main inland road between Aberdeen and Inverness or stick the better known Royal Deeside area of Aberdeenshire. Also the area is pretty run down in some parts, predominately Macduff and Banff.
The area has much natural beauty and picturesque fishing villages such as Crovie and Gardenstown. There is a coastal path with some great views stretching along the entire coastline.
The eponymous Banff has traces of a very grand past with fine housing and public buildings dating from the town’s heyday as a herring port during the 19th century. However along the waterfront there are several derelict, boarded up industrial premises. The local council have managed to detract from one of the focal points, the Biggar Fountain, a Victorian drinking fountain, built in 1878. On one side of fountain there is a no entry sign and on the other a large black litter bin. The fountain sits in front of a rather shabby closed down hotel on site of the Tollcross.
You can pick up a “Historic Walks around Banff” at local tourist offices. The leaflet prepared by the Banff Preservation Society is very detailed.
The harbour in Banff has recently been converted a leisure marina. I noticed that one of the building by the marina had been coverted to flats and a two bedroom flat, was selling for Â£175,000. I imagine a price well out of the reach of most locals.
Macduff lies just east of Banff, on the other side of the River Deveron. The Macduff Marine Aquarium focuses on local marine life. Minkie Whales and dolphins are regulary spotted along the coast.
Macduff from the Parish Church
Overall I did enjoy my visit to the area and would recommend it to nature and outdoor lovers. I suppose the relative inaccessibility of the region means that it is unlikely to become a major visitor destination. I reckon with more investment and promotion by local agencies, the area could encourage more visitors.