Weather: wind rising to F4 from the east. Sea condition, calm to moderate
Distance: 6 miles
Time: An even more leisurely hour and a half.
“Pull boys, for all you’r worth,
speed the Admiral Redsocks
to the bonniest place in all the earth,
rowing home to Collieston.”
The name Cruden means ‘Slaughter of Danes’ and refers to a battle fought in 1012 between the Vikings, who were under the impression that the Scots should pay them to stay away, and the Scots, who disagreed. King Malcolm wanted to let the Danes land and then engage in guerrilla type raids on them. His army, being typical Scots, didn’t like this idea and demanded ‘a fair go’ otherwise they would pack up and go home. Malcolm agreed, and battle commenced. After a day of carnage on both sides it was agreed that the Danes would stay away and the Scots would build a chapel dedicated to St Olaf.
The leader of the Vikings, Canute, the eighteen year old son of King Sven, went on to become King of Denmark and England. He also discovered the value of a good set of tide tables.
Rounding the Skares of Cruden where, according to Bram Stoker’s book The Mystery of the Sea, the ghosts of drowned sailors rise out of the sea and walk up on to the land once every year, we are back under the cliffs all the way to Collieston.
At Oldcastle we pass the ruin of Old Slains Castle. This was destroyed by King James VI in 1594, ‘with cannon and gunpowder’ when the Earl of Errol really annoyed him by leading a rebellion.
As we pass features such as The Hummel Craig, Janet’s Skellis, Berry’s Loup, The Devil’s Study and The Pishing Yad, the sea starts building, making the entry to Collieston Harbour quite interesting.
Collieston has a small drying harbour which, on the advice of the minister, was built the wrong way round. This caused it to silt up and turned a once prosperous fishing community into an all but deserted village.