History and Heritage

The history of the Banffshire Coast is naturally, and inextricably, linked with the sea; and geologists can date the area back as far as 350 million years ago when the area was submerged by Lake Orcadia.

A rich vein of archaeological sites runs along our coastline such as the Bronze Age site of Fort Fiddes at Cullykhan Bay. It’s been described as one of the earliest industrial sites in Europe, as beads have been found there which suggest that the fort was trading with continental Europe as far back as 700BC.

Banffshire’s position means that it seems to have been a sitting duck for Viking raiding parties!

A series of bloody battles have taken place on the coast including that of the ‘Bleedy Pots’ (Bloody Pits) in Gamrie (known as Gardenstown). The Scots defeated the Danes by rolling large stones down the hill towards the Danes who were slaughtered as they tried to escape over the brow of the hill. The event was marked for centuries by three skulls fixed into niches in St John’s Kirk. The church is now a ruin but can still be visited. 

Coastal fortifications can still be found along the coastline including the rugged ruins of Findlater Castle on a tiny peninsula with a 50 foot drop to the sea below. A castle was first recorded here in 1246. The name gives a clue to the undoubted Norse influence in the area – ‘fyn’ being white and ‘leitr’ cliff – so called because there is quartz in the rock. (Extreme care should be taken around the castle due to its current state and its position on the cliff edge.)

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