Thursday, 29 October 2009

Findlater Castle

Today I paddled on the Moray Firth, from Sandend to Cullen and back. It's a short trip of around 14km, but there are so many opportunities for rock-hopping that you actually cover far more distance. Right from the start, a big swell was breaking on the rocks. One of the features of this coast is the relative lack of shelter and there are few safe landing places.

I managed to land in a rocky bay below the dramatic Findlater Castle. This castle is perched on a cliff in a most dramatic position. There are records of a fortification here before 1245. The site was repaired and improved by King Alexander III in preparation for an invasion by the Norse King Haakon IV. Ironically, the castle's name comes from Old Norse - "Fyn Leitr", meaning White Cliff, and it was held for a while by the Vikings. Most of the visible remains are from the 14th Century.

The castle is a superb viewpoint. This is looking west to Logie Head; Cullen is in the bay beyond.

It's possible to scramble down into the part of the ruins. There are two main rooms and a tower in reasonable condition. The roofs of both the main rooms are vaulted, but look to have been constructed at different times. This is the view out over the bay below. Must have been a draughty place to live!

The castle is connected to the main cliff by a narrow neck of rock, guraded by a type of battlement. It must have been a great defensive site, but doesn't seem to have had a water supply.

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