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Bow Fiddle Rock – Portknockie

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The Bow Fiddle Rock is found near to Portknockie, a small cliff top fishing village on the Moray coast between Findochty and Cullen.  It overlooks the Moray Firth with a history dating back to 1677. This was a major fishing port in the 19th century and today the harbour serves as a marina for private boats. The waters around Portknockie are home to dolphins and sea birds and it is where the Bow Fiddle Rock, with its unique ‘bow shaped’ formation can be seen. This rock is made from Cullen Quartzite which is one of the many types of quartzites found around Scotland.

This type of rock is extremely thick reaching 8,000 feet deep to its core and is a ‘metamorphic rock’; meaning that it has been altered by heat or pressure. Originally, the rock would have been sandstone layered under the sea around 750 million years ago. Sediment builds up until the sandstone is buried and with the heat and pressure from the Earth’s crust, the silica grains in the sandstone weld together to form quartzite.

The rock formation has been caused by erosion and movement from the tectonic plates of the earth. Scotland lay on the edge of two ancient continents called Laurentia and Avalonia. Eventually, the two collided resulting in the folding of the strata rock which is why the Bow Fiddle Rock slopes down to the south.

The rock formation attracts many tourists every year and is the village’s most photographed attraction. It is a nesting place for sea birds such as, herring gulls, great black-backed and lesser black-backed gulls. The colony has become established over time and the area is now a natural sanctuary for a number of sea birds. Bottle-nosed dolphins and porpoises feed in the area and are often seen around the rock by visitors.

Portknockie is a conservation area and visitors can enjoy several coastal walks. The village consists of just over 500 houses and in the 1920’s and 30’s it was more prosperous with 48 shops and businesses but today it is predominantly a residential community thriving on tourism.

The oldest buildings are located around the harbour front, built very close together to protect against the coastal weather. Originally thatched and earthen floored, they are separated by narrow alleyways known locally as ‘slappies’.

Bow Fiddle Rock provides the perfect location for those interested in photography and the sun rising or setting behind the rock can produce some stunning pictures.

There is accommodation available to rent in the village and also B&Bs for those who want a short break away. The location is peaceful and ideal for visitors looking to pursue quieter actives such as, bird watching, sketching, photography and nature walks.

The RAF use the skies above Bow Fiddle Rock on manoeuvres and Tornado and Jaguar fighter planes can often be seen flying around the area.



Camping and Caravanning Club Site
B9102 (Rd), Archiestown, Aberlour
Moray, Scotland, AB38 9SL
+44 (0)01340 810 414

Contact Details

  • Address: Patrol Road, Portknockie, Moray, Scotland, United Kingdom, AB56 4JN
  • GPS: 57.70661667,-2.850327778
  • Part of UK: Scotland
  • Sat Nav Postcode: AB56 4JN
  • Entrance Fees: Free access
  • Disabled Access: Limited
  • Visibility from Road: Very Poor
  • Image Credits: Header Image: Maria Gaellman

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