|Location Map ( geo)
The town of Buckie lies on the Moray Firth a few miles east of the mouth of the River Spey. It is perhaps the largest port on the coast between Inverness and Fraserburgh, certainly the largest town in the old county of Banffshire, and still has a large industrial zone along the coast, where many similar towns have seen redevelopment into luxury flats and shopping parks. The town grew up as a fishing port, with three shipyards (one survives), but has developed into a wider industrial base, although the neighbouring fishing villages, which have slowly merged into Buckie, retain more of their old-world charm. Buckpool, Ianstown and Portessie are al parts of the town, which is 2.5 miles long but apart from some recent expansion is half a mile wide at most. Portessie, in the east, has narrow alleys running between tangled clusters of cottages under the cliffs, and larger houses above the cliffs, whilst Portgordon to the west has a slightly more conventional feel, with the start of a grid-iron street layout giving more regularity.
The main road into Buckie itself is the A942, which branches off the A98 at the edge of town. The A98 runs through the fields a little inland, forming a bypass to Buckie, albeit an ancient one. In Buckie, the A942 turns east along the coast to serve the harbour, and although it originally terminated here, it was soon continued through Portessie and out of town. It then passes through the pretty little harbour villages of Findochty and Portknockie before rejoining the A98 near Cullen. Heading west, the A990 mirrors the A942, through Buckpool and passing the town's original harbour (now filled in), before running through some open country to reach Portgordon where it turns inland to also rejoin the A98.
Unlike nearby Findochty and Portknockie, Buckie has no B-class roads, but the unclassified March Road, a mile or so to the east of High Street, was improved in the 1970s to form the main access to a growing industrial estate, and is signed from the A98 as the HGV route. It does, however, have what is arguably Britain's most northerly dual carriageway: the residential, unclassified West Cathcart Street near the town centre.
The A942 leaves the A98 at a simple T junction (originally a crossroads, but the minor road to the south has now been staggered, and a filter lane added to the A98) before cutting a straight course into the town. It forms High Street and passes through the square in the town centre, where it crosses Church Street at a mini roundabout, and then continues towards the shore. There is a steep descent from the town centre, and the road sweeps around a horseshoe bend on the descent, with the A990 climbing up to meet it at another simple T Junction.
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