walkhighlands

Share your personal walking route experiences in Scotland, and comment on other peoples' reports.
Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.

Have you ever BIN to CULLEN?

Have you ever BIN to CULLEN?


Postby BlackPanther » Tue Apr 23, 2013 12:04 pm

Route description: Bin of Cullen

Sub 2000' hills included on this walk: Bin of Cullen

Date walked: 20/04/2013

Distance: 7.6 km

Ascent: 279m

5 people think this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).

The coast of Moray is full of good routes to walk and interesting places to visit and during the last few years we spent quite a lot of time in this part of Scotland, exploring, hiking and photographing. From Nairn and Culbin forest all the way to Buckie and Portsoy, we enjoyed the summer sunshine on beaches, lurked in old ruins, walked along rivers, cliffs and in dense forests. The only thing we haven't tried so far is playing golf, but just as well :wink: :lol:
So many times when driving to Buckie/Portsoy stretch of the coast, I had my eye on a lonesome hill just south of Cullen. Well, it's not an imposing 3000ft climb, I thought, but it must be a good viewpoint :D I asked Kevin - Have you been to the Bin (of Cullen, obviously). He hasn't. So the sub2000 landed on my list as "a place to go on a day not good enough for serious climbing".
Having checked on the map, it was obvious that the visit to The Bin will not take long and when climbing it via the easiest (shortest) route we should be up & down in just over an hour. So a plan was hatched to combine it with a visit to one of my favourite castles and a picnic on the beach :D

PART 1. THE BIN OF CULLEN
The walk starts by the gate at the bend of the minor road (just of B9018), where we found a place to leave car. We didn't take anything with us, just a small bottle of water and our cameras - it's a stroll by our standards :lol:
Image
The gate:
Image
The route to the Bin:

our_route.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


It was a windy day, but hidden in the forest, we were well protected from the gusts and enjoyed climbing at a lazy pace:
Image
Not much to say about the route. It follows a track/wide path all the way to the summit. Lower down, it's a nice stroll through the woods...
Image
...although you should be careful, the trees can be aggressive! :lol: :lol: They may try to catch you on the way up!
Image
For the final 50m or so of ascent, the forest gives way to moorland, and immediately wide panoramas open up:
Image
Ben Rinnes with a few snow patches still left on the northern side:
Image
The path stays wide and comfortable, even with wind blowing in my face it was still a lovely stroll:
Image
The pointy hill on the horizon is called Knock Hill - another sub2000 viewpoint to visit on a semi-good day...
Image
The summit was reached fast. Too fast, as for me. I don't want to sound spoiled, but climbing a couple of hundred metres wasn't enough for me :lol:
Image
The Bin is a good viewpoint, especially to wards Moray coast. Looking east, one can see past Portsoy to Banff. To the very left of the picture, Sandend Bay (with a lovely sandy beach):
Image

Image
View south: Knock Hill and the trigpoint.
Image
South-west, some higher ground: Rinnes, Coryhabbie, Cook's Cairn:
Image
Buckie is just below...
Image
...and Cullen is even closer!
Image
Sometimes less is more... I couldn't take my eyes off the coastline:
Image
The cloud was coming in from the south-western direction... Soon it was time to retrace our steps back to the car park:
Image
A little hill it might have been, but a real treat nevertheless :D :D :D

PART 2 - FINDLATER CASTLE
Kevin once said that Findlater Castle is a mini-version of Tintagel. I couldn't agree more, considering the location of both :D
Here is how looking down to the remains of the fortress worked on the imagination of the authors of the famous book "The castellated and domestic architecture of Scotland from the twelfth to the eighteenth century" (MacGibbon and Ross,1887-92):
"This once extensive fortress stood on a lofty detached rock, entirely surrounded by the sea, except where a narrow isthmus joins it to the mainland. It is situated on the north coast of Banffshire, about three miles east of Cullen."
The best way to approach the ruins is to walk along the cliffs either from Cullen or from Portsoy via the beach in Sandend. We have already done both routes and I have to say the best time to walk them is in late spring, when the nature is in full bloom.
If one prefers a flying visit to the ruins, there is a short option. Turn off A98 towards the coast just east of Cullen - there is a signpost "to Findlater Castle and White Sands Beach" (or something like that). Drive to Barnyards of Findlater - the farm is now abandoned but there's a good car park by the big barn. From now on, it's just a short stroll to the cliffs on a good path, which joins the coastal trail basically above the ruins.
Findlater Castle - the shortest approach:

our_route.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


On the way down to the coast - the barn and the car park are behind me:
Image
One can take a short detour to the dovecot:
Image
Soon we arrived at the viewpoint above Findlater:
Image
Before we venture down into the unknown :lol: , let's try to imagine how this mighty fortress might have looked in the days of glory. The information board on the viewing spot contains a drawing of the castle (apologies for bad quality of this photo):
Image
The ruins today - I tried to take a picture from the same angle as the drawing was made:
Image
Findlater Castle gets its name from Norse and it translates as "white cliff" (due to the white quartz in the surrounding rock). Sadly, the majority of the main building on the tiny peninsula is gone :( We know that the castle was in ruined state already in 1638 and has not been habitable since.
MacGibbon and Ross don't provide us with a sketch of the castle, but they describe the ruins as follows:
"On the mainland the approach to the castle is defended by an intrenched area, having a ditch and rampart, 240 feet by 140 feet. The isthmus forming the access is cut across by two ditches, which no doubt were provided with drawbridges. Beyond this the ruins of the castle indicate several towers which command the approach. The area of the rock is about 180 feet by 80 feet, and has been surrounded by buildings, of which only the vaulted basement on the west side now remains. This part of the structure has been built up from a lower part of the rock to the level of the courtyard, and beneath this vault there is a still deeper chamber, partly hewn out of the rock. The castle seems to have been on the same model as Girnigoe and the other coast fortresses of Caithness."
I'm not very good at drawing, but I did my best to make a plan of the castle:
Image
When walking from Cullen along the coast, the castle can be seen from a different angle and here is how the particular surviving parts look like. Again, I'm no expert on architecture, but I did my best:
Image
If walking from Sandend, one could completely overlook the ruins, as the existing parts of the building faces west:
Image
Now, let's scramble down to the ruins :D
Warning: In wet weather the descent to the castle can be tricky and very slippery :shock: On a dry day like we had, there's no problem whatsoever but one should still remember that the ruins are unstable and very close to the high drops (about 150 feet in places).
Approaching the surviving part of the castle:
Image
The walls on the western side are still standing to an average height of 20m from within - and they contain two levels of chambers. We'll peek inside in a minute, but first, let's have a good look from the outside:
Image
Obviously, we are not the only bravehearts lurking here :lol: :lol: :lol: Paths into the cellars are well worn:
Image
The small bit of the outer wall, visible to the left behind yours truly, was maybe a part of the stables building:
Image
I was eager to have a closer look... and to touch the past...
Image
Not everyone was glad to see visitors in the castle :wink: :lol: :lol:
Image
When looking from the very end of the peninsula back to the main surviving part, the walls still look pretty stable...
Image
... but on a closer inspection it's obvious that the walls are slowly tumbling :(
Image
The existing castle was probably built by Sir John Sinclair of Findlater and it dates it to late fourteenth century, but there were fortifications on the site since the 13th century. The castle passed from the Sinclairs to the Ogilvies. About 1560, the Ogilvie laird of the time argued with his son, disinherited him and signed the property over to Sir John Gordon, third son of the Earl of Huntly.
In 1562 the Gordons rebelled against Mary, Queen of Scots (refusing her entrance to the castle). They were defeated in the Battle of Corrochie and Sir James Gordon was beheaded. The castle returned to the Ogilvies but it was eventually was abandoned after 1600, when the family moved to Cullen (from: M.Coventry "The castles of Scotland").
Obviously, the building was considered too small and too inconvenient for the noble family:
Image
...but I didn't mind touring the vaulted chambers. The access to the upper level (two largest chambers) is relatively easy:
Image
... but to descend to the lower level, one has to scramble down into this hole in the floor :shock: I had been down there before, but it's always a daunting experience :lol:
Image
Two minutes later...
Image
On the lower level there are three cellars, all connected so one can walk through them.
Image
The first cellar:
Image
The dividing wall between the first and second cellar is not in the best state:
Image
The windows are small but give enough light for photographs:
Image
Kevin wondered if it could be possible to rebuild this site and live here, with all the spectacular views from the windows :lol: Well, nice thought but you would have to rob a bank first :wink:
Image
The middle chamber was a kitchen and the remains of the big fireplace can still be traced. From the third chamber on the lower level, a corridor of some sort suggests, there is a second way out:
Image
...and indeed, we found a staircase climbing back to the upper level:
Image
There's one more chamber here, with a big window hole:
Image
There's only one way out of this one:
Image
The experience may be a bit dizzying, but I absolutely love lurking in such dangerous places!
Image
The cloud thickened as we left Findlater, but we still had some time left to lurk so we stopped in Cullen for a short beach wander:
Image
My favourite spot on this beach are the Three Kings - big rocks situated in the middle of the sandy area:
Image
Only two of the Kings are in the tidal zone:
Image
When tide is out, this is a perfect place to walk around, look for shells, splash puddles and admire the cliffs enclosing the bay:
Image
Looking east - Findlater can't be seen from here, but the rocks on the horizon are popular with rock climbers. We didn't spot any on that particular day, well, it was too windy perhaps:
Image
Given a good, warm summer, this would be a lovely place to swim in the sea. IF it gets warm enough...
Image
There are other walks to explore in this area - Bow and Fiddle Rock and the Whale's Mouth are only a short distance to the east and a coastal walk to Portknockie and back is a delight, even in cold weather (we did it a few times, once in November). Definitely, you won't be bored if you visit Cullen! Meow! :D :D
We returned home just in time to watch the return of the Rocket :clap: :clap: but even the big event at Crucible didn't turn my mind away from thinking about another mountain... Please, may the next weekend be good...
User avatar
BlackPanther
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 3687
Munros:260   Corbetts:172
Grahams:123   
Sub 2000:56   
Joined: Nov 2, 2010
Location: Beauly, Inverness-shire

Re: Have you ever BIN to CULLEN?

Postby ballarat » Tue Apr 23, 2013 3:42 pm

aye BP and Kevin,its a canny job you do on this forum :) superb reports pictures and now history lessons :)

every few days another "gem"pops up :)
ballarat
Hill Bagger
 
Posts: 127
Joined: Feb 26, 2013
Location: city of sunderland

Re: Have you ever BIN to CULLEN?

Postby rockhopper » Sat Apr 27, 2013 11:52 pm

You certainly have a knack of finding interesting walks and routes, BP :thumbup: Great WR - very interesting and an area to which I've not yet "bin" - and amusing at the same time - cheers :)
User avatar
rockhopper
 
Posts: 6750
Munros:282   Corbetts:219
Grahams:72   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:9   Hewitts:2
Wainwrights:3   Islands:19
Joined: Jun 1, 2009
Location: Glasgow

Re: Have you ever BIN to CULLEN?

Postby HighlandSC » Sun Apr 28, 2013 12:17 am

Very nice. Great day out. Had my eye on the Bin a few times when living near Elgin but never got round to it.
User avatar
HighlandSC
 
Posts: 2184
Munros:33   Corbetts:4
Grahams:2   
Sub 2000:14   
Islands:8
Joined: Jul 12, 2009
Location: USA (formerly Inverness)

5 people think this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).




Walkhighlands community forum is advert free


Your generosity keeps this site running.
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by donating by direct debit?



Return to Walk reports - Scotland

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 95 guests