Many people come to The Banffshire Coast to get away from the stresses and strains of everyday life and for those who want to relax and unwind, there is no better place to visit than Crovie. There are no shops, no mobile phone signal and – incredibly – no roads.
Crovie – pronounced Crivie – is a collection of houses which appear to emerge from the sea and are precariously sandwiched between the water and the bottom of a cliff. Access to Crovie is by a very steep hill and locals have to transport their shopping and bulky goods by wheelbarrow from a car park at the top of the cliff. If you are visiting by road, you should leave your vehicle here.
There’s nowhere else on earth quite like this enchanting little village – it truly is a spellbinding place. As well as being the best preserved fishing village in Europe, it also has the distinction of having the narrowest space between shore and cliff of any Scottish village.
Room exists only for a handful of cottages and a narrow footpath, but in the 19th century more than 50 fishing boats operated from the tiny harbour and it provided homes to more than 300 people. The village was nearly swept away by a fierce storm in 1953 and many residents sought to build a new life in nearby Gardenstown.
The harbour and a number of the original properties did survive, and many of these are now holiday homes and self-catering accommodation. Keep an eye open for the unusual house numbering system of brightly painted pebbles or maritime ‘art installations’.
Just to the east of Crovie is the RSPB reserve at Troup Head, where thousands of birds swoop to and from their nests on the red cliffs. Make a point of stopping off at Cullykhan Bay – a sandy cove near the remains of Fort Fiddes, which is thought to be one of the earliest industrial sites in Europe, as well as Hell’s Lum where sea spray escapes from a cave cut into the cliff like smoke from a chimney.