Books by John and Nancy Eckersley

Saints, Castles and Fish

At last the rain has stopped and the wind has swung away from the north. This last week saw us pass the half way point on the walk and also ‘turn the corner’ so that we walk now east to west instead of south to north.

New Aberdour church

Last Sunday saw us have a great welcome at the church nearest to where we were staying – that of St Drostan in New Aberdour. The owner (thank you Graeme) of our self catering cottage is an elder there and had prepared the way for us to speak. Most enthusiastic were two ladies from West Yorkshire who had taken up residence here but missed Christian Aid. The Scots were pretty good too. Thank you for your welcome Richard and all the saints in New Aberdour. After the service (which featured God telling Elijah to make sure he had enough rest – a word for us?) we drove down to see the ‘Auld Kirk’, and St Drostan’s well which is on New Aberdour’s beach. St Drostan was a nephew of St Columba and apparently came to Scotland from Ireland with him. St Columba came ashore at this beach and received a friendly welcome from the Picts and so left Drostan to preach the Gospel and do the first baptisms on Scottish soil from the well – maybe that should be Pictish soil?

St Drostan’s Well

The castles seemed to adorn every headland and sometimes a little further inland too. The most striking story is the one attached to Slains castle. This was in existence near the village of Slains just on the headland in a prominent place. The laird of the castle took part in a failed rebellion against King James IV and as a punishment had his castle blown up. When the Laird was in a position to rebuild, an easier site for him was several miles further north near Cruden Bay. But he kept the name of Slains Castle. Both are now in ruins but the ‘new’ castle captured the imagination of Bram Stoker when he visited and he used it as the setting for Count Dracula’s castle. The locals (so we were told) now call it Dracula’s castle.

‘Dracula’s castle’

We have walked through plenty of fishing villages, but the biggest fish port we walked through was Fraserburgh. Whilst passing through the fish docks we saw a vessel winding out its nets which had pieces of fish caught in the mesh. The gulls were having a right tug of war over the scraps until one large black backed gull came and sorted the others out. Fraserburgh was also the place I managed to get my hair cut at the Infinity salon (thank you Charlie) and the place for re-stocking the food supplies.

Fraserburgh harbour

We have met some great people this week. Hi to everyone at St Drostan’s, to Joy met on the dunes near Forvie nature reserve, to Bill the artist met at Cruden Bay bus stop, to Suzanne on the dunes with her dog near St Fergus, Gordon whom we met near Peterhead prison, Tony who is doing a wonderful walk for charity around the coast of Great Britain (and was walking with the sea on his left), Mary in Pittulie rather early in the morning and Bill and Dennis walking thier dog on Rosehearty beach – thanks for the tip about the route, we found the tower, the white shed and saw seals!

Statistics

Miles walked so far  161

Money given so far  £1014.11

Scrabble this week Nancy 1 John 4

Castles 7

Nancy