This 9 mile section of National Cycle Route One is on the Moray coast. It may not be as spectacular as the Cullen to Findochty leg, but it has plenty of interest. In particular, the remnants of the Moray Coast Railway and fishing heritage in Buckie.
Findochty to Buckie
Leaving Findochty the route heads slightly inland and then joins a disused railway path. I always have mixed feelings about the closure of railway lines. On the one hand it means the brilliant traffic-free cycle path that we can enjoy today, but it also means the loss of an important transportation link.
The bridge and platform at Portessie are reminders of what used to be. The last time that someone would have stood on this platform to wait for a train was in 1968, the year the line was closed.
3.5 miles from Findochty is Buckie, which means place of the male deer in Gaelic.
Buckie is one of the largest towns in Moray and it is somewhat of a shock to be thrown into a busier world. The approach into Buckie is through residential streets with large roundabouts. The harbour area is functional, with buildings associated with fish processing. The queues at the 'Eat Mair Fish' shop are testament to the popularity of locally caught seafood.
Buckie feels like a place to pass through rather than stop in, but it is worth taking a look at Cluny Square where there is a fine ensemble of Victorian buildings. Pause at the war memorial where the faces of the soldiers are detailed and beautiful.
Fishing heritage in Buckie
Take a wander down the streets with rows of granite and sandstone cottages. These had been built with money from the boom years of the herring industry in the 1800s. They had an upstairs that was used for storing and repairing fishing nets. This was reached by a ladder on the outside of the house, so that the ground floor living area was kept free of muck.
There's more to learn about this legacy in the Buckie and District Fishing Heritage Centre. Although small, it is full of interesting things. The boat models are incredibly detailed. Look through a window on the lifeboat and you will see a cup of tea resting on a sink.
After a few minutes of cycling you will reach another reminder of the railway era, a gorgeous iron footbridge at Buckpool.
Further on and there is a double arched bridge.
Two miles from Buckie there is a sweep of sand and coast that leads you into Portgordon.
Portgordon was founded by the 4th Duke of Gordon. It was once a busy fishing village, but the harbour is now mainly used for pleasure vessels.
The village was once nicknamed 'Paraffin City.' The street lighting was powered with paraffin and it was one of the last settlements in the area to get electric lights.
Portgordon had an important role in the Second World War when three German spies turned up at the train station. The spies had been dropped off by an aircraft and made their way by dinghy to the mainland. The stationmaster was suspicious and contacted the police who made an arrest.
Like the other coastal villages on this section of Moray's coast it is surprisingly low key in its offerings for visitors. It has a perfect location that seems ripe for things like seafood restaurants and gift shops, but the lack of such offerings is what makes these villages special. You get to enjoy them as they are without distractions and the crowds that would come for the distractions.
4 more miles on National Cycle Route One will take you to the Spey viaduct, one of the most magnificent bridges in Scotland.