• ZJ


Updated: Jun 4, 2018

This weekend I decide to have an early midlife crisis. I drove 150 miles on a solo road trip to live in isolation over the long weekend.

Not one to fritter away my time, I used the four hour drive up the East coast of Scotland to listen to a self- help audio book. How To Make Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie 2004. Welcome to the school of the bleeding obvious. If you ask people about themselves they will like you.

Here are the three things I took from it: Emmerson’s quote: ‘Everyone I meet is my superior in some way’. God did not see fit to distribute intelligence evenly and most people care more about the corn on their own foot than hunger in Africa.

Clearly I was a ray of sunshine by the time I arrived in Sandhaven. Which was just as well because the thick harr smothered the sky casting a gloomy cold grey tone across the little village. It was 26 degrees in Glasgow when I left. I had packed short and vest tops, floaty skirts and sunglasses. It was freezing and the north sea air whipped at my ears lashing the icy breeze in my face.

Last week I contacted a woman called Sue Emerson who runs Seafront Cottages. I had seen a stunning cottage called Piew With A View and was keen to book in. It had a telescope at a large window and postcard view of the sea. It was a converted fisherman’s house with a pretty garden and obviously a piew, looking out to the north sea. I wanted to disappear and write, go for runs and create… or drink my body weight in vodka. Sue told me the cottage was fully booked but she had ‘Door To Shore’ available.

Now, before I continue I have to confess that I’m a bit of a holiday snob. If I have the choice I would be abroad, in Milan or Paris soaking up some culture. The idea of being in Fraserburgh wouldn’t be a first choice. But this was last minute and I felt like having a mini adventure.

Sue told me it was like ‘glamping’. But it’s a luxurious Eco Pod crafted in the style of an upturned boat made from Larch Wood. It has underfloor heating, a wetroom, smart tv, wifi, surround sound, wireless phone charger and iPhone docking station, kitchenette and contains the finest bedding and appliances.

View from the pod door to the north sea

It is situated 2 meters from the slipway into this ancient harbour in Pitullie named Craighaven harbour. And it has a cracking view.

Without any distractions, I had a productive night and died in my sleep.

Fraserburgh Beach is less than 10 minutes by car, so I woke early and drove to Scotland’s Lighthouse Museum, parking up and setting my Fitbit to run mode.

Two hours later I was back at my car. I had run 10 miles right along the beach though the sand dunes and back along the coast. It was the most cathartic run I’ve had in months.

I had salmon and avocado for lunch sitting outside in the front of the pod in the sunshine.

And was soon joined by Isobel, Sue’s mum. She brought a bottle of prosecco for me and we sat for two hours talking about …well, everything. She lived a few doors down and I found myself in her bathroom chatting about retirement next to her Jacuzzi. I could have spent the rest of the night there, well perhaps not right there next to the lavy but decided had to get back to work.

The Northern Lights, Aurora Borealis and Meteor Showers are common in this area and Sue has a telescope in the pod. At night you can pull up a few pews and chairs around the fire pit, rug up, and watch the northern skies come alive at night.

There are Castle tours, Jacobite tours, Pictish stone tours and Whisky Tours available in the area. But I’m only staying for two nights so I will just about manage the local ice cream shop.

I love the community here. I came alone but I am not anymore. I have spoken to everyone I meet and there is such warmth in the village.

In the fifteenth century, around a small creek in the 600-million-year-old rocks on the Phingask Coast of Moray Firth in North-east Scotland, grew a small fishing community. Its identity became the settlement of Pitullie. A few hardy families battled with the North Sea to thrive on its harvest of fish. A self-sufficient entity evolved as the feudal "Land of the Pitullies", with the skills necessary to support village life. Thrift and recycling were " virtues" required by many of the poor. Door to the Shore is a modern day equivalent of Bothys made from upturned boats used by fisherfolk as houses. And it was my little piece of heaven.

Prices vary from £100-£150 per night and you can book online here