|Worth the wait...., a photo by Jane Bella Carnall on Flickr.|
Situated in the Northwest Highlands, Banffshire has been a county since 1890, but it has always had a character of its own. After the Reformation rocked England in the 16th century, many residents remained staunchly Roman Catholic. There was even a battle fought here, the Battle of Glenlivet, where the Catholic lords of Errol and Huntly (of Huntly Castle) were victorious over the Protestant forces--2,000 men forcing 10,000 to flee. Their celebrations would not last long, however, as the Catholic forces could not hold up against their larger opponent. Religious tension would continue; Saint John Ogilvie, a Banffshire native, was martyred in in 1615. The county continued to have a strong Catholic faith and supported the Royalists during the Civil War.
If you like little picturesque villages, you'll love poking around Banffshire. Crovie (pronounced Crivie) is a truly wonderful place, called "the best preserved fishing village in Europe." You won't find any town in Scotland with a narrower distance between shore and cliff (see photos here).
If crumbling ruins are more your speed, then you must visit the beautiful Balvenie Castle with its history of rebellion and refuge, or you might take a look at a deserted shipyard, one of the casualties of the modern fishing industry.
Duff House in the town of Banff is beautiful enough in itself to warrant a visit (it is considered one of the most important houses in Northern Scotland), but it is also filled with a fantastic art collection, luxurious grounds, a tearoom offering freshly baked scones with homemade strawberry jam & clotted cream, as well as activities for children. This house also hides some World War II secrets....
Little Sandend, boat-filled MacDuff, and the town of Cullen with its namesake soup (described as an "exalted traditional Scottish delicacy") are just a few more highlights from this fascinating area.