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Location Map ( geo)
Cameraicon.png View gallery (2)
From:  Fraserburgh (NJ986669)
To:  Macduff(E) (NJ720637)
Via:  Rosehearty, Pennan
Distance:  20.4 miles (32.8 km)
Meets:  A98, B9032, B9123, A98
Primary Destinations
Highway Authorities


Traditional Counties

Aberdeenshire • Banffshire

Route outline (key)
B9031 Fraserburgh - Macduff

The B9031 runs along the north coast of Buchan in Aberdeenshire, from the fishing port of Fraserburgh to the edge of Macduff in Banffshire. Along the way, it passes one of Scotland's most famous film locations, and some spectacular scenery too.


Fraserburgh - Pennan

Two ways to Fraserburgh

The route starts on the western edge of Fraserburgh, leaving the A98 at a simple T-junction, and curves through an industrial area as it heads for the coast. The town is soon left behind as the route curves around the back of a rocky beach, just a stone's throw from the sea, with the small village of Sandhaven already visible ahead. The spacious harbour sits at the eastern end of the village, and the B9031 deviates away from the shore as it winds between the houses on The Terrace and High Street. The shore is briefly in view opposite the school, but then houses sit along the coast once more as the B9031 snakes through Pittulie to the far end of the village. Just after the last house the road seems to be built out over the rocky beach itself and at high tide, with a strong northerly wind the sea probably crashes onto the road, but at low tide on a dreich October day the road was clear.

For the next mile or so the road is rarely more than a few metres from the shore, with open fields stretching inland to the south. At Rosehearty, the route kinks inland a little as it follows Union Street into The Square, where it TOTSOs left. The Square is a wide space with plentiful parking up the middle of the two lanes and along both sides. Westbound traffic then has to dodge around a blocking building into Pitsligo Street, which is still more than wide enough for cars to park on both sides. The route has now left the coast behind, although it is never that far away, and slowly climbs out of the village winding through fields and past scattered farms to reach a TOTSO with the B9032. Here the B9031 turns right and stays inland, but is now at least running parallel to the coast once more.

The route meanders westwards between scrubby hedges and tumbledown stone walls, rarely more than a mile from the coast, but the undulating landscape means the sea is invisible. After a couple of miles the strange grid-iron village of New Aberdour is reached. A sweeping right hander leads onto the straight Elphin Street, the shorter of the villages two streets. Towards the far end, High Street turns left opposite a church. There are a few houses set on the back lanes behind the streets, but essentially this is just a two street village, which was surely intended to grow bigger. At the end of the village, the route turns sharp right and the sea can be seen ahead, as the road dips quite steeply down towards the coast.

After this, the road gets even more fun, with a series of steep climbs and descents mixed with twisty bends, the road often too narrow for a centre line, although cars can pass each other with care. First up is the steep, winding descent to Haugh Bridge at the bottom of a deeply incised valley. An escape route is found, with an equally steep climb which gets steeper around a sharp right hander. When the road was first laid out, agricultural considerations were obviously given priority, so the road is pushed hard up against the steep slopes and then winds up the steep gulley called the Slack of Towie, therefore leaving as much of the flatter land as possible available as farmland. The summit touches the 160m contour, and offers a stunning panorama of the coast to the west, rolling fields cascading down valleys and rising over ridges as they drop to the clifftops, and somewhere down there is one of the jewels of this coastline.

Pennan - Macduff

The long descent suddenly steepens at Auchmedden Farm as it drops round a sharp double bend into the Den of Auchmedden. After crossing the burn, the road contours out around the hillside to reach Pennan Crossroads, from where a side road drops very steeply down to the pretty little fishing village that starred in the film Local Hero. It is the shoreside phonebox that took a starring role in the film and is now visited by thousands of tourists every year, but this beautiful curve of brightly painted houses around the harbour at the bottom of the cliffs is well worth a visit even if you've never heard of the film. The B9031, meanwhile, stays at the top of the cliffs, albeit dropping into the steep valley at Nethermill before climbing steeply inland again to avoid the rugged headland of Troup Head. After so many miles of rollercoaster tarmac, the route suddenly opens up in a series of straights which head south west, fighting the contours. A scattering of houses line the roadside at Troup and Prostonhill as the road slices through the fields.

Nearing the end at Melrose

This long undulating climb leads to a summit of over 180m before the road drops down to Dubford where it meets the B9123. A couple of right turns have already been signed to the coastal village of Gardenstown, but this is the main road in. Gardenstown probably originated like Pennan, but slightly easier geography has allowed it to grow up the steep coastal slope onto the cliff tops above. The descent gets steeper as it winds down hill and then a near-hairpin bends takes the road across a stream in the bottom of the narrow Den of Afforsk. A steep, winding climb then leads to another series of straights running roughly parallel to the coast. The road here is in the shallow valley of the Burn of Melrose, with the land rising slightly beyond to the clifftops meaning that the sea can only be glimpsed here and there.

This is a rich agricultural landscape of cropped fields and plenty of farms and houses scattered between them. The road is losing height all the time as it runs westwards, past a caravan park and on past a small quarry. Distant hills can be seen ahead as the road crests a final ridge, but not for long as it quickly drops down to the A98 a little east of Macduff and journey's end.

The 1922 MOT Road List defines this route as: Macduff - Pennan - Fraserburgh

Related Pictures
View gallery (2)
House by the B9031 - Geograph - 1298768.jpgRoad sign and house at Hillcrest - Geograph - 317872.jpg
Other nearby roads
B9000 – B9099
B9000 • B9001 • B9002 • B9003 • B9004 • B9005 • B9006 • B9007 • B9008 • B9009 • B9010 • B9011 • B9012 • B9013 • B9014 • B9015 • B9016 • B9017 • B9018 • B9019
B9020 • B9021 • B9022 • B9023 • B9024 • B9025 • B9026 • B9027 • B9028 • B9029 • B9030 • B9031 • B9032 • B9033 • B9034 • B9035 • B9036 • B9037 • B9038 • B9039
B9040 • B9041 • B9042 • B9043 • B9044 • B9045 • B9046 • B9047 • B9048 • B9049 • B9050 • B9051 • B9052 • B9053 • B9054 • B9055 • B9056 • B9057 • B9058 • B9059
B9060 • B9061 • B9062 • B9063 • B9064 • B9065 • B9066 • B9067 • B9068 • B9069 • B9070 • B9071 • B9072 • B9073 • B9074 • B9075 • B9076 • B9077 • B9078 • B9079
B9080 • B9081 • B9082 • B9083 • B9084 • B9085 • B9086 • B9087 • B9088 • B9089 • B9090 • B9091 • B9092 • B9093 • B9094 • B9095 • B9096 • B9097 • B9098 • B9099
Earlier iterations: B9002(E) • B9002(W) • B9003 • B9005 • B9013 • B9014 • B9019 • B9038 • B9040 • B9049 • B9054
B9071 • B9076 • B9077 • B9078 • B9079 • B9080 • B9085 • B9093 • B9095 • B9098

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