Voted #11 in the Rough Guides 'Britain's Best 30 Seaside Towns' 2016
Very few towns escape modern development but over the years Gardenstown has expanded in a most unusual way. Rather like seabirds which have adapted to living in the nooks and crannies of cliffs, buildings in Gardenstown also cling to steep slopes as the village has grown vertically rather than horizontally.
The first houses in Gardenstown – originally called Gamrie – were constructed at sea level next to the harbour and over the centuries subsequent development has taken place in tiers above, giving a timeline of construction through the ages. The houses right at the top of the cliff provide an incredible vista of the stunning bay, and even those with vertigo must be envious of their view.
Gardenstown experienced a population boom in the 1950s when a massive storm almost destroyed the neighbouring village of Crovie, forcing fearful residents to up sticks and move along the coast. There is a coastal path linking the two settlements and it offers a perfect walk for spotting dolphins in the bay and seabirds on the cliffs.
Decades ago Gardenstown was a busy fishing port, but crews were drawn to bigger harbours in the North-east with the arrival of steam. The picturesque harbour is now full of small creel boats and pleasure craft, and a walk to the harbour should be rounded off with a visit to the seasonal heritage centre which gives a fascinating insight into the fishing industry and Gardenstown of old.
In contrast to the quiet calm of the village, just a mile or so outside Gardenstown, lies the ruin of St John’s Kirk, which has a very grizzly past. Once the scene of a ferocious and bloody battle, the skulls of defeated Norsemen were displayed in an opening in the wall east of the pulpit of the church following defeat of the Danes at nearby Bloodymires Farm.
For a more detailed history of Gardenstown, please click here.
For lots more information on Gardenstown and Crovie, please visit their community website - www.discovergardenstown.co.uk