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LONGHAVEN TO BODDAM
(Update October 2014)
This walk continues from my walk from Hatton via Cruden Bay back in 2002. The walk was completely along the main road and into Boddam, due to not being able to get onto the trackbed
around the Longhaven station area. However, there are some nice views of the trackbed as it drops down to the top of the road by Stirling Hill, with sea and cliff background then drops
quite steeply to the outskirts of Boddam before levelling out for the final mile or so to Boddam station site.
The walk from Station Road (30) to Longhaven is two miles (28), mostly uphill. It is an interesting walk, passing Boddam
Castle ruins with nice views over to Buchaness Lighthouse. There are nice rocky coastal views where the trackbed hugs the
clifftop from Dundonnie to the Cave Of Meakie. When it is dry you can walk much of the trackbed. However, there are
fenced off areas that force you back onto the road for long stretches. There are a couple of dangerous spots when you
get right up to the cliff edge and care should be taken, especially in the wet.
Longhaven Station Layout (Google). The station did not have a signalbox and had only one platorm. Goods yard entry was via the key on the Boddam To Cruden By Single-line Token.
The Loop bridge is in shadow on the far right. The back-filled trackbed can just be seen, following the sandy-coloured grassy stretch, which is the top of the cutting. I had to take the main road into Johnshaven and
Boddam from here. Right: Twin garages built close to the site of Longhaven station.
Longhaven Station House. To the south of Longhaven station. The platforms, buildings and goods yard would have been seen from here.
The Highland Cow is standing on the trackbed to the north end of Longhaven station. The Station House is to the right. Right: An Ex GNSR Boundry Post marks the edge of the trackbed, which runs behind
the cows and up to Longhaven station, which was level with the station house.
Left: Farm crossing Gate South of and towards Longhaven Station. Right: Opposite side, metal gate, looking towards Boddam (30th Sept 2014)
Left: Farm X'sg Gate South of Fisherman's House and towards Longhaven Station. Right: Opposite side, metal gate, looking towards Boddam, into a cutting. (30th Sept 2014)
Both: From the Ex Level crossing towards Longhaven station. Ex Station Master's House on the right.
Left: Reaching the sumit of the line from Boddam as it approaches Longhaven station. Right: From the A90. The shallow cutting to the north of Longhaven Station.
The start of the steep gradient as it runs down to Boddam. North of Longhaven station. The pleasant view continues until the line drops down to Boddam
Large stone by the old Fisherman's House. Left: Towards Longhaven. Right: Towards Boddam. You can follow the trackbed heading off into the distance. (30th Sept 2014).
Left: Front of the Fisherman's House. It has become dangerous and is fenced off to the public. Right: The ruin with the old railway fencing on the right as the line ran towards Longhaven. (30th Sept 2014)
The west face of the house, overlooknig the cliff. It is heavily fenced off. Right: The south (rear) side of the house. (30th eSpt. 2014)
Right: An east facing window. Made as small as possible to keep the house warm . (30th Sept. 2014)
Left: Looking across the track bed, with the retaining wall on the left and the layby on the A90. Right. Remains of an out building by the east side of the house. (30th Sept 2014)
Left; Base of a shed or store on the east end of the house. Right: The deep sea-gully that makes the front of the house a dangerous spot. (30th Sept. 2014)
Views from the A90
This old building may or may not have been part of the railway. I need more information on this. Right: At the top of the gradient this gives an excellent view of the curve and shallow cutting to the north
of Longhaven station.
The track bed can clearly be seen passing the ruined building, which was may possibly have been a trackman's hut. Longhaven Station site is in the background.
Right: The trackbed starts to drop through a shallow cutting.
From my 30th Sept. 2014 walk, along the track bed from the Fisherman's House into Boddam.
The track bed follows the coastline closely, first on the flat then into a short cutting. It gets cut off with a gap cut into the track bed then stops dead due to the private home up ahead having back-filled it's back garden over the
track bed, where you have to follow a narrow path around to blockage and with a wooden bridge over the end of the sea gully. Again the track bed has been filled in for a way, beyond the private house, before it starts dropping
down into the long, steep cuttin g down to Boddam. By Stirling Village South is the site of the over-bridge where a mineral railway crossed over the top of the main line, where stone waste from the quarry was tipped into
Herring Cove gully, where you can still see the heap of pink ganite stones. The deep cutting is very boggie and difficult to get through due to being back-filled just before the steep drop and holds back water in the cutting.
There is some more back-filling just before the remains of the over bridge, where you have to get off the track bed and walk along the eastern top of the cutting up to the bridge remains. You get a grand view of the high
embankment of the mineral railway, which has corroded so much that it is difficult to imagine that railway track had once ran upon it and having a double spur where the rock was tippied over the edge..
The track bed from the old Fisherman's house, running into a low cutting, towards Boddam.
Left: Another gate were a farm crossing stood. Right: From the short embankment the track bed runs into another low cutting. Towards Boddam.
Left: Looking back towards the cutting and Longhaven, with the lay-by on the main road up to the right.
Right: It must have taken a bit of effort to get this load of large granite blocks to this part of the track bed!
Left: The track bed becomes a dead end, due to a private hom extending it's back garden over the railway. Right: View from the track bed with stubs of the railway fence.
Left: End of the line! You have to cross a gully and onto the narrow path on the right to get around the blockage.
Right: Looking back towards Longhaven and the low embankment.
Left: The gap on the track bed, which you have to get around. I found it easier to get down to the fence, where the narrowest leap across was possible.
Right: it's a shame that they are allowed to blank of the old track bed in this manner. This is from the north side of the gap.
There was a farm crossing at this point, the two gate crossing tension posts that still stand guard.
By the two metal gate posts. There is a narrow path from here to the old house shoud you not wish to walk along the actual track bed.
A wooden foot bridge crosses the narrow gap, with a nice view down the cliff side.
From the A90
As the trackbed runs close to the cliff edge it's path has been reduced by the built up ground of a walled garden. Right: The track is on a low embankment but is close to the cliff edge.
The scene on a finer day in Sept 2007. This section of the line had been very attractive with fine sea and cliff views from the carriages. Ditto
From the clifftop by the walled garden you can see how close the trackbed was to the cliff edge on ther far right and heads towards Longhaven station.
Right: This is a short telephoto view looking over the cliff edge. Looking south.
A wideangle view while standing on the trackbed. Very much as the passengers would have seen it. The Cave of Miekie is there somewhere.
Right: The track bed runs to the left of the hillside, formed by building up the ground to build a house and walled garden.
Left: The north face of the back-filled bank of the house garden Right: A wider view from the path, looking south. The track bed is more to the right. (30th Sept. 2014)
Left: The track bed continues for a sort while, southwards as a rising back-filled heap of rough ground. (30th Sept. 2014.
Right: looking back towards Longhaven. The track bed is almost eliminated. You can see the top of the walled garden up ahead.
The north side of the heap where you drop back down to track bed level. Back-filled at this point for access off the main A90 road. (30th Sept 2014)
A deep cutting is reached as the line ran down past Strling Hill and the
quarries, which are on the lft, on the opposite side of the main road.
The back-fill access path out onto the A90. It rises and curves away from the original route to meet the main road.
From the Boddam end of the back-filled track bed, looking into the cutting ahead. It is extremely boggie.
I got through this length squeezing along the rough grass on the righthand side but still managed to side into the sticky mess a couple of times.
The cutting, towardsthe back-filled section up ahead. Too boggie to walk without a pair of Wellington boots. I had to get up onto the eastern rim at this point.
Looking back up the very wet and boggie track bed.
Left: Stump of a wire tension Post. Right Perfect example of how much the cutting fills up with rain wate due to the two back-fills and the A90 mdrainage.
It doesn't help he cutting drainage when water from the A90 is aso added.
Left: The long drop past Stirling Village and down into Boddam. The railway drainage appears to be still doing its job! This photo was taken in 1975 on Ferrania CR50 film.
Right: The long steady gradient as it drops down to Boddam. The fireman must have had a difficult job keeping the steam pressure high on this long drag.
Left: From the back-filled section, back towards the summit of the line towards Longhaven. (30th Sept 2014)
Right: Herring Cove. I wondered how this heap of stone got there! It was dumped from the short mineral railway that ran from the quarry to the top of the cliff and tipped there over some years.
I keep getting surprises when learning more about this branch. I came across a map of 1843-1882 and find that there were infact two quarry mineral lines at Stirling South. I did wonder about the first quarry opening you
come to as you near Stirling south and while it looked similar to th tramway opening further north there was nothing on the seaward side to point to there having been another tramway. It was interesting to find this map
showing that there were two such tramways.
The more southerly tramway came out of the quarry about a quarter of a mile south of the
longer tramway. The line crossed the A90 but appears to have stopped short of the cliff face,
which suggests that the stone wasn't tipped over the cliff face. This map also proves that the
two tramways were there before the Boddam branch was built.
Left: First view of the large pile of stones, tipped by the quarry from the mineral branch that stopped at the top of the embankment, top left. This is the spot where possibly the more southerly tramway line came to
a stop. Right: looking back up the cutting incline towards Longhaven.
Left: Once again the track bed has been back-filled for a little way. Right: The back-fill showing how the drain water no more flows freely down the incline but remains as static pools. This is where I had to get
back up to the ground for the remander of the walk towards the next bridge remains.
Railway fencing at the top of the cutting, overlooking the cliff views.
Update: March 2014: From this map the over bridge had carried a private length of quarrie railway,
whether narrow or standard guage, to tip waste rock from the quarry to the sea cliffs. The mineral
line had crossed the main A90 road as well as the main branchline.
This is where I had get up ont the high ground to continue towards the Ex over bridge.
The mineral railway embankment. There is much corrossion but you can still follow the line as it came in over the main branch line, on the far left.
Again, the stones lying around in the foreground suggests that this is where the more southerly tramway terminatd.
Left: The remains of the over-bridge. It is too boggie to walk on the track bed at this spot. Right: There is now no sign of the mineral branch embankment on the coastal side of the bridge.
Two wire tensioning posts still exists at his spot. The top one was the mineral branch fnece, while the lower one was the actual branch fence.
The lower (branch) fence wire tension post.
Left: A view that would have been blancked off if the full embankment of the mineral branch was still in place. Right: From the base of the old bridge. The track bed continues towards Boddam.
Left: Reverse view from above left. The crumbling remains of the mineral railway embankment. Right: The over bridge remains, looking northwards.
Left: At mineral track bed level, followng the level of the line over the embankment up to the wagon tipping point at the end.
Right: Where the mineral line crossed the A90, from the quarry.
Left: Buchaness Lighthouse from the top of the overbridge, with the mineral branch wire tensioning post in the foreground.
Left: Where the mineral line came out of the quarry entrance, over the A90 and over the Boddam branch and across to the tipping point.
Right: The quarry is still in use and is locked off to both road vehicles and the public. Quarry vehicles enter from an
entrace a little way further up the A90. (30th Sept. 2014).
The line ran part way into the quarry where wagons were loaded with granite spoil. I have not found anything to state whether the line as manually worked or Horse drawn. (30th Sept 2014)
Left: The bottom of the gradiant as it starts to level out before the final mile into Boddam. The quarry line crossed the bridge . The right hand side embankment has been demolished.
Right: A closer view on the 30th Sept 2014.
Buchan pink granite steps from the road down to track level, which had
been used by gangers. It's still quite safe to use with a little care on
Update: March 2014. Remains of the separate quarrie over-bridge at the bottom of the gradient from Longhaven. Right: you can see the embankment on which the quarry track ran to the cliff face, here in the
background. That is an intertesting lean-to built on the side of the bridge. Perhaps someone kept some sheep here for a time! The pink granite really shows up in this lighting.
Again, you can make out the embankment for the quarrie tip trackbed. Right: From the over-bridge site, towards Boddam (1975).
Driver's eye view from the old bridge and the final mile into Boddam in the 90's. The old building was probably in excellent condition when the railway was in operation. Both appear to have deteriorated together.
The trackbed has been cut a number of times between here and Boddam. The embankment is just made out
The embankment is erroding quite steadily. This is an interesting break. The farmer has strengthened the embankment to his own use.
The farmer has removed the embankment to gain access to the east side of his farm. There would have ben a grand view of a train running along here, either criusing down the bank or working
hard in the opposite direction.
The sheep appear to enjoy the embankment, which is probably drier than at field level. A backward view of the embankment. From here it looks as if the bank had been continuous at the far
end and has been removed for convenience.
It still has the feel of a railway after 60 years of closure. This would have been another nice spot to watch or photograph the trains. Right: The end of the trackbed. Fenced off from the embankment to the station site.
Buchaness lighthouse and keeper's houses. The lighthouse is now automatic and the houses are partly a ruin. The road bridge has been removed and the ground filled in to form the new roadbed.
Looking south from the site of the old bridge, which has been demolished and the gap filled in to keep the road in use. Right: The opposite view is quite different. The trackbed has been completely built over
with new housing.
The trackbed comes to a halt where there was a road bridge and the embankment on the opposite side has beendemolished to build a number of houses. In the background is the ruin of Boddam Castle. On the right,
background the old Lighthouse Keeper's houses lie's half demolished. Seems a waste of good housing. Right: Boddam Castle ruin seen over the old trackbed level and some new houses.
The trackbed just outside the station is brought to another halt having been demoilished to the south for new housing. Right:The first (or last bridge), at Boddam. On the southern peremeter of Boddam village.
Remain of the northern side of an overbridge of ther embankment from the sation. The short sectionsthwards is overbuilt with a line of houses. (30th Sept. 2014)
Remains of the embankment heading south from the stationsite (30th Sept 2014)
Back on the main road with a very modern looking Boddam than I remember in the 40's and 50's. The railway ran in on the right and terminated at the Station Road end of the Ex RAF Camp up ahead.
Right: End of the line. All that remains of Boddam Station. The RAF Camp took over the site but this too has now closed and the land has been sold and earmarked for a new housing sceme.
Noone's interested in the possibility of the station ever reopening again, obvioulsy! It may prove short term thinking.
Looking directly along the track bed to the station site. (30th Sept. 2014)
You can just make out the trackbed as it leads up to the station and the goods siding.
Looking from the main road into the old station site. The granite quarries have been reduced to mere 'Flint Quarries.
Note the two-faced building and the tretch limo. The granite qurries have been reduced to mere 'Flint' quarries.
This is the spot to start looking over the remains of Stirling Quarrie and what's left of the old Prison Railway.
The road junction at Stirling Village bus stop, with Station Road, on the right, running past the old station site and up to the harbour. Right: The entrance to Boddam Station and Goods Yard off Station Road. (Sept. 2010).
N.B. The old Bus shelter stands on the site of the station building. The long loco
& carriage shed ran long the platform length to the left of the shelter.
The Goods Shed and Turntable were on the left, into the photo.
The station Layout. Use photo above right for refferance.
Ex Boddam Station masters' House. Sept 2010.
A quarry railway, worked by prisoner under armed guard lay on the opposite side of the road at Stirling Hill and had an extensive layout, which ran from the quarry to the military pier at Peterhead. It was an isolated railway built to high
standards with it's own fleet of locomotives, coaches and wagons. This trackbed can also be followed along the main road and there was a very pleasant ping-granite viaduct as you entered Peterhead. This railway is a story on it's own.
Would the Boddam branch have existed had GNSR built through to Peterhead. Just three miles away! With modern traction, staffing, signalling and speed increases Peterhead could have been within 50 minutes of Aberdeen and the extensive
growth of Boddam, Cruden Bay and Ellon over the years could create substantial patronage. While much of the trackbed is in reasonable condition and quite easily rebuilt many bridges have gone or would need replacing. Sadly housing has
been allowed to encroach over the trackbed in places and local house/farm owners have used the trackbed as their own property in other places.
Building stations and platforms are redicuously expensive these days, albeit probably only one platform would suffice in most cases unless some double tracking was necessary to run a reasonable service. There would be little need for other
than Ellon, Cruden Bay and Boddam for stations, with Hatton a possible addition.
While it is unlikely, it's certainly not an impossiblity as road traffic becomes more unbearable and expensive. Stranger things have happened and with modern building machinery and materials it wouldn't be such a massive task as it may seem.
27th October 2008:
There has been report from a Peterhead Capacity Study for the future expansion of the Buchan area in which they have suggested that the Cruden Bay trackbed be protected for possible future use. This project also includes Fraserburgh to Dyce.
It is nice to hear the Boddam line being mentioned as I never imagined that it would every be considered again.
While this could be way into the future, if ever, the fact that this is being considered is an excellent move to have the trackbed safeguarded, which means that it shouldn't get any worse than it is at present and if sections are converted into cycle
and walk ways then that really would preserve the line. So who knows, the line may eventually come alive again, one day.
Boddam Old Station Photos
A visit to Boddam Castle on YouTube
Back To Index Back to Home Page
Web sites with reference to Cruden Bay, the raliway, Slain's Castle and the Bullar's.
(Updated Oct. 2008)
Cruden Bay Trams
Cruden Bay Historical Notes
Cruden Bay (Gazzateer)
Ellon to Boddam Branch
Focus On Aberdeenshire (Cruden bay)
Buchan RAF (Former Rotar Radar station)
The Crann Tarra (Cultural History) web site