Monday, 9 January 2012

GAMRIE BAY: CROVIE AND GARDENSTOWN

The red sandstone cliffs of Gamrie Bay harbour two neighbouring villages: Crovie and Gardenstown. Crovie clings like a limpet to the narrow shoreline, its houses packed in so tightly that there is no room for a main street, meaning that use of a car in the village is not an option. Cars are left at the south end of the village, from where their owners are forced to walk, while for visitors there is a cliff-top car park. All that separates the line of houses from the perils of the sea is a seafront path, and the vulnerability brought about by this state of affairs was exposed on 31 January 1953 when a storm accompanied by hurricane force winds caused the village to be overwhelmed by the raging seas, destroying part of the sea defences and some of the houses, as well as the path linking Crovie to Gardenstown.

Thankfully the path, which provides a 10-minute walk from Crovie to Gardenstown, has since been replaced. Gardenstown is another dramatically located village, clinging to the steep hillside above the bay. This quaint village has a variety of galleries, shops and eateries, and this being the Moray Firth, a haven for cetaceans, there is a good chance of seeing dolphins swimming offshore. The ruined St John's Kirk, dating from 1513, is said to occupy the site of an older church which was built to commemorate a victory over the Danes in 1004.

Map of the area.

'Gardenstown Beach' photo (c) 2011, Gordon Robertson - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

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