Last time I was up in Aberdeen (Sept) I met an elderly gentleman by the sea front who had arrived to photograph a lighthouse I had just been taking photos of.
We chatted for some time with him telling me how he came up here most days at different times, taking photos of this same lighthouse in different lights.
As we looked across the water he asked me if I had visited the old fishing village of Fettie, the place where he grew up. I told him I had not and he was gobsmacked. He told me it was a must so I promised to visit….and so here I am today keeping that promise.
Footdee, or Fittie as it is pronounced locally is a small fishing village at the mouth of the harbour in Aberdeen.
The name is actually folk etymology. Far from being “Foot of the Dee/Fit o the Dee”, it is actually named after a former Saint, St Fittick.
When we arrived I could not believe how close we were to this village the last time we were here. We had literally parked right next to it on the promenade, but it is a hidden gem, even although it technically sits in plain sight!
Ever so slightly tucked away we entered Fittie through one of the narrow entrances that led us to rows of almost uniform mid-19th century cottages, organised in neat little squares, with their backs to the sea to protect them from the wild storms that can roar across this coastline. And believe you me it works. Today we had 45mph winds but as soon as we entered this village, the wind disappeared, and we had protection.
This fishing community was designed by John Smith, the architect responsible for Balmoral Castle. It was built to re-home the city’s fishermen who were living in poor quality housing around the harbour area.
And to visit these houses today really is like stepping back in time.
The narrow cobbled streets are surrounded on every side by small houses with charming gardens and quirky art work.
Its vibrant and eccentric with little evidence I guess of its previous life as ‘Fish Town’. I absolutly love it here, of course I do!
I tried to imagine what the squares must have looked like back in the day with fishing nets hanging out to dry and fishing gear stacked about the place ready for the next trip.
Almost every house has a bench outside the front door and I wondered if this was mimicking how the ‘fish wives’ would sit outside gossiping as they restored their mens fishing nets.
We wondered and wondered and wondered up and down the many streets taking in every detail as there was something everywhere you looked, what an absolute treasure.
Each house also had a curious and individual styled/decorated outhouse and a shed dotted around the central greens. Each resembled tiny houses that looked as if they could be lived in…I would have loved to have been able to peek inside each of these quirky units, they intriged me but will remain a mystery.
Fittie was for sure worth the trip and is very much one of the most unique communities in the UK.
It was that worth the visit we came back in the evening just to see the villiage at night time lit up with the old style lamp posts. It proved a rewarding stroll.
Thank you to that gentleman who encouraged our visit and I would urge you to do the same if in Aberdeen!