Fraserburgh and the Life of Pi

This is night No.52/2018 staying in my caravan. This is my third night at Smiddy Croft CL near Tyrie.

A significant number of nights. I've checked last years records and I was away for 52 nights in 2017, so I now equal that this year, and I've only been out since 22nd March! On this day in 2017, I'd only been away 15 nights. It's also 52 nights which I've stayed in my Eriba Familia. Since 22nd March, I've spent 52 out of 86 nights in my van, and 34 days in my hoose!

It rained overnight, but it was dry when I got up around 0600. Took the dogs along the minor road to the north of the site. It was very quiet and never spotted anyone.

I returned to the van and after breakfast, I chatted with the farmer and he could sense my interest in his many tractors. He showed me some of his collection which included a diesel fergie, a petrol paraffin one, a Ford 2000, a MF35 and a MF135, a Fordson and incredibly, a Leyland which was built in Bathgate. There's not much left of anything which came from Leyland, and this little tractor was mint.

He also had a partly restored Austin 8, a Morris Oxford, two Morris 10-4's, and a whole plethora of engines and implements. Very interesting.

It delayed me by about and hour (!), then I headed along the coast to Cairnbulg. A bit of a plastic litter strewn harbour area, which must have once been very busy, to a rather fine beach. It's the east end of the Fraserburgh bay.

Telephoto shots of Fraserburgh, 3 miles away.

Just offshore is the wreck of a fishing boat called 'The Sovereign'. Never heard of it, just noticed it when I passed.

Considered by the locals as nothing more than a pain, attitudes changed somewhat when it (unbelievable) appeared on promotion posters for the huge hit film 'Life of Pi'!

Surprised Scots spot local shipwreck on Life of Pi poster

Scotsman Story on Wreck

I can assure you, the forecast tourist boom has yet to occur!!

I took a short drive to St Combs, which really was nothing special, then on the return stopped for a run around on Fraserburgh beach. It was very warm in the showery weather.

One thing I'm starting to notice here is that everyone you pass either says hello, or stops for a chat. Nice people. Shame I struggle to understand a word of what's said! The accent is extremely strong in these parts.

After lunch, and later in the afternoon, took a drive over to Strichen to the excellent community park. I walked along the old Formantine railway (now a long distance route, Dyce - Fraserburgh), and noticed a sign for the Strichen Standing Stones.

A narrown path up between fields finally reaching the Stones. A shame, but neglected. Located in a field of cattle, it's fenced enclosure had been knocked over and there was cow shit all around the monument.

There was no information board, but this ring is very similar to one I've visited near Tarland.

I reckon this stone was recently toppled by cattle.

A rather fine, but derelict, mansion to the south.

If this Stone Ring was in Orkney or the Western Isles, it would be an absolute magnet for visitors. Shame really.


  1. There is something quite sad emerging from your blogs of the north-east, Iain. Neglected wee corner of Scotland with nice but very reserved (maybe bitter?) people and a serial inability to attract economic growth, even when oil and gas is on their maritime doorstep, or even real tourism traffic. Given some of the same features in Galloway as well as Sutherland, I wonder if the majority of money and people avoid the peripheries. I would never have got that Life of Pi connection if asked. Finally, I was surprised not to read what I thought would have been a day highlight; leaving a wee note for your good pal, Fiona Stalker on Out for the Weekend on Radio Scotland, that was read out on air. I heard it live and smiled as I now see the son striving to mimic his influential father ...


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