It is only 4 miles from Cullen to Findochty, but it's one of the best coastal bike rides in Scotland. This short stretch of National Cycle Route One packs in beaches, rock formations and seaside villages.
Cullen has a grand backdrop of railway viaducts, a sweeping bay and a good selection of antique shops. It is also where Cullen Skink, Scotland's famous fish soup, was created. The cycle route leaves Cullen on the railway viaducts, the perfect spot to look down upon the sparkling blue sea and inviting sands of Cullen Bay.
Find out more on my reasons to visit Cullen blog
Bow Fiddle Rock
15 minutes of cycling will take you to the Bow Fiddle Rock, one of the most spectacular coastal formations in Scotland.
Find out more on my blog about the Bow Fiddle Rock
Three creeks shore
It is not just the Bow Fiddle Rock that is impressive around here. An area called three creeks shore has a shingle beach, caves and rock formations that were formed 650 million years ago. It thrives with bird life, including Common Eider Ducks, Rock Doves and Shags.
This village is close to the Bow Fiddle Rock. One of the most striking things about it is the position of the houses, atop the high cliffs.
The harbour is sheltered by a huge rock formation and has an outdoor swimming pool.
It takes less than 15 minutes to cycle along the gravel track to the next village, Findochty. This is my favourite part of the whole route. It is worth parking your bike and walking to the edge where the coastal scenery reveals itself in all its glory. Sea birds put on a show by swooping elegantly to land on precarious cliff edges.
The approach to Findochty is glorious. The downhill gravel track means you can ease off the pedals and sit back and enjoy that first sight of the white church sitting above the village and the sweep of a sandy bay. That church is what gives the place its distinctive look and makes the arrival into the village so special and memorable.
Findochty, despite its obvious beauty, is not a touristy place. Gift shops, seafood restaurants and ice cream parlours are lacking. It surprises me that this location has not been exploited for tourism, but that's also what gives it such appeal. You don't feel like you have ended up somewhere that everyone else has ended up in just because it has 'stuff' for visitors to do. Instead you get to enjoy the place for what it is and it feels all the more special for that.
A wander around the streets reveals pretty cottages that were built for fishing families.
And it is worth a wander up to Findochty Church, the building on the elevated position that makes the village look so impressive and distinctive. It dates from 1863 and for the next 24 years, until a bell was installed, a fog horn was used.
How to get here
The path between Cullen and Fincochty is part of National Cycle Network Route One, but if you are not doing that route the best way to reach the path is from Keith. There's a train station here and it is a 14 mile ride using quiet B-roads to get to Cullen. There is a full description of this route in my blog about the Willows Tearoom.
My name is Colin Baird and I want to see all of Scotland by bicycle.