Saturday 4 August 2012: On the edge
Today was sunny, dry and hot (at least by our standards) and so I took myself off a few miles up the coast, to the Bullers of Buchan, a tiny fishing village perched on the top of some very dramatic cliffs. The village shares its name with a nearby collapsed sea cave which forms an almost circular chasm (the "pot") some 30 metres (100 feet) deep, into which the ocean rushes in through a natural archway.
I will leave the description of the pot to the erudite Dr Johnson who, together with Boswell, visited the Bullers in 1773, during their journey to the Western Isles of Scotland.
"We soon turned our eyes to the Buller, or Bouilloir of Buchan, which no man can see with indifference, who has either sense of danger or delight in rarity. It is a rock perpendicularly tubulated, united on one side with a high shore, and on the other rising steep to a great height, above the main sea. The top is open, from which may be seen a dark gulf of water which flows into the cavity, through a breach made in the lower part of the inclosing rock. It has the appearance of a vast well bordered with a wall. The edge of the Buller is not wide, and to those that walk round, appears very narrow. He that ventures to look downward sees, that if his foot should slip, he must fall from his dreadful elevation upon stones on one side, or into water on the other. We however went round, and were glad when the circuit was completed.
When we came down to the sea, we saw some boats, and rowers, and resolved to explore the Buller at the bottom. We entered the arch, which the water had made, and found ourselves in a place, which, though we could not think ourselves in danger, we could scarcely survey without some recoil of the mind. The bason in which we floated was nearly circular, perhaps thirty yards in diameter. We were inclosed by a natural wall, rising steep on every side to a height which produced the idea of insurmountable confinement. The interception of all lateral light caused a dismal gloom. Round us was a perpendicular rock, above us the distant sky, and below an unknown profundity of water. If I had any malice against a walking spirit, instead of laying him in the Red-sea, I would condemn him to reside in the Buller of Buchan."
I couldn't have put it better myself!