A glance at the Catterline website reveals that the Christmas celebrations are in full swing in this little village on the east coast of Scotland. The local pub is holding a Christmas party for the residents on Friday, to which they are invited to wear black tie and best frocks, while two days later the church is putting on music and words accompanied by mulled wine and mince pies. Wish you were there? I do.
Catterline is perched on top of a cliff. It has a long history of fishing and smuggling activities, and acquired a pier in 1810 for the protection of the fishing vessels based there. Neighbouring Crawton also had a thriving fishing industry, but the boats moved from there to safer facilities at Stonehaven. There is a path linking the two villages. Also, from Crawton, birdwatchers should take the path to nearby Fowlsheugh RSPB Reserve, where huge numbers of kittiwakes, fulmars, razorbills, guillemots and other birds share this prime bit of sea-bird real estate.
Christianity arrived in the area around the year 400 when St Ninian came and converted the Picts, but the present incarnation of Catterline's church, St Philip's, only dates from 1848, though somehow it looks older. Its interior, with its whitewashed walls, has a bright, airy feel to it. Like many little coastal communities around the country, the village has proved a magnet for artists, and belongs to that select club with a "school" named after them. The "Catterline School" of artists, which came about during the 1950s, included Joan Eardley, who owned a cottage in the village, and whose works include "The Wave", painted outside during stormy weather in February 1961: that shows dedication!
Map of the area.