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1. The Portknockie Experience: This is a gentle walk around the conservation area of Portknockie, which provides an insight to the fishing heritage of this coastal village. There is a leaflet guide, which you can obtain from the Local Heritage Point in the Library or in any of the shops.

2. A walk round the Brae: Start overlooking the harbour and walk east along Patrol Road past the end of Admiralty Street to the edge of the village. Here a grassy track leads parallel with the coast to a natural arch formation, known locally as the Whale’s Moo. Here there are steps leading down to the shoreline (see walk 3) but stay on the path and turn right. Follow the path round the edge of the cliffs until you come to a viewing area with two seats overlooking Cullen Golf Course. Enjoy the view and then follow the path on to a stone bridge, which leads across to Cruarts farm. Turn right here and walk along the edge of the playing fields, past the caravan site and the bowls green until you come to the main A942 road. Cross the road and walk along the old railway track to the junction with Hill Street. At the end turn right and walk downhill across Church Street, past the Kirk of Scotland and back to the Harbour.

3. A shore walk to Cullen: Follow walk 2 to James Bruce’s joinery yard bearing left to Bow Fiddle Rock. Walk along the cliff top past Bow Fiddle Rock enjoying fine views of the Moray Firth and follow the path round to the steps by the Whale’s Moo. Descend the steps to the shore. Follow the track to the concrete steps after which you will see Jennie’s Well on your right. The cliff face vegetation is interesting and includes primroses in the spring and you may be able to spot the rare oyster plant. You will pass several caves one, known as the Preacher’s Cave, was used by the Free Church following its break with the Church of Scotland in the 1840s. Round the headland you come to the fine sweep of Cullen Bay sands with the golf course to your right. Where the sand runs out by the golf clubhouse climb the steps and you will be approaching Cullen Seatown with its traditional fishermen’s houses huddled by the shore. After crossing the burn you come to the harbour where you can turn up into Cullen itself. For a longer walk carry on past the famous pets’ cemetery and an old salmon bothy, where the path begins to climb, hug the cliff face and leads to the Giant’s Steps. Here there is a vertical cliff pitch used by climbers to practice their rope work. The path continues to a very quiet sandy bay and eventually reaches Findlater Castle, a dramatically sited, cliff top ruin dating back to the fifteenth century. It is possible to approach Findlater Castle by car from the A98, park at the farm and take this walk in reverse. The full walk is about 7km each way and you need to be well shod and able to climb some steep slopes and steps, particularly on the section beyond the salmon bothy.

4. A gentle stroll to Cullen: This walk follows the line of the old railway line, which was closed in 1968. It is now a part of the Sustrans Cycle Way between Inverness and Aberdeen. The gradient is gentle and you pass dramatic vistas of the golf course and the Moray Firth. As you approach Cullen the route takes you over the famous Cullen Viaducts past Castle Hill to North Deskford Street from which you can easily make your way into the centre of Cullen perhaps to return to Portknockie by the first part of walk. At the top of North Deskford Street is the entrance to Cullen House and on Tuesday and Friday afternoons the public can stroll through its grounds. Well worth a visit is the Old Kirk, a rare pre-Reformation Scottish kirk that is still in regular use.

5. By the cliffs to Findochty: This path to the west of Portknockie harbour is also part of the Sustrans Cycle Way. From it you may see right across the Moray Firth to Morven (706m) in Sutherland. This is a distance of over 80km! The path climbs gently to the village cemetery and then drops down to the neighbouring village of Findochty, pronounced locally as "Finechty". The distance is about 3km. Findochty has a large yacht marina in its harbour. As you walk you may see dolphins tumbling in the sea below you, fishing boats heading to and from Buckie, the nearest fish landing port and, in the distance, giant oil and gas rigs being towed to and from the construction yards in Nigg Bay, Cromarty. Overhead, this normally peaceful scene might be shattered, momentarily, by low flying Tornado and Jaguar fighters from nearby RAF Lossiemouth. Sometimes you will see the air/sea rescue helicopters at practice hovering over the cliff tops.

6. A climb to the Bin: The Bin of Cullen reaches 320m and is the high ground to the south of Portknockie. From its summit, on a clear day, there are commanding views of the Moray Firth coastline. It can be climbed from Portknockie but the easier route is to drive to the south side of the Bin where you will find a woodland walk. Go via Cullen and the B9081 Keith Road turning right after about 3km by the Nether Blairock steading and continuing to a patch of woodland. Just where the road comes out of the wood there is some parking space and a gateway on the right. Leave the car here and walk to the stream where the track branches left. Follow this upwards through beech, silver birch and Scots Pine to the next fork where you turn left. From here the path is stony and across open heather and takes you to the summit of Bin of Cullen and its spectacular views.


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