|I really wanted to put these in the fieldnotes section :-)
24th August 1773 - Fieldnotes by Samuel Johnson (The day before he got a bit bored at Strichen stone circle)
"Upon these rocks there was nothing that could long detain attention, and we soon turned our eyes to the Buller, or Bouilloir of Buchan, which no man can see with indifference, who has either sense of danger or delight in rarity. It is a rock perpendicularly tubulated, united on one side with a high shore, and on the other rising steep to a great height, above the main sea. The top is open, from which may be seen a dark gulf of water which flows into the cavity, through a breach made in the lower part of the inclosing rock. It has the appearance of a vast well bordered with a wall. The edge of the Buller is not wide, and to those that walk round, appears very narrow. He that ventures to look downward sees, that if his foot should slip, he must fall from his dreadful elevation upon stones on one side, or into the water on the other. We however went round, and were glad when the circuit was completed.
When we came down to the sea, we saw some boats, and rowers, and resolved to explore the Buller at the bottom. We entered the arch, which the water had made, and found ourselves in a place, which, though we could not think ourselves in danger, we could scarcely survey without some recoil of the mind. The bason in which we floated was nearly circular, perhaps thirty yards in diameter. We were inclosed by a natural wall, rising steep on every side to a height which produced the idea of insurmountable confinement. The interception of all lateral light caused a dismal gloom. Round us was a perpendicular rock, above us the distant sky, and below an unknown profundity of water. If I had any malice against a walking spirit, instead of laying him in the Red-sea, I would condemn him to reside in the Buller of Buchan.
But terrour without danger is only one of the sports of fancy, a voluntary agitation of the mind that is permitted no longer than it pleases. We were soon at leisure to examine the place with minute inspection, and found many cavities which, as the waterman told us, went backward to a depth which they had never explored. Their extent we had not time to try; they are said to serve different purposes. Ladies come hither sometimes in the summer with collations, and smugglers make them storehouses for clandestine merchandise. It is hardly to be doubted but the pirates of ancient times often used them as magazines of arms, or repositories of plunder.
To the little vessels used by the northern rovers, the Buller may have served as a shelter from storms, and perhaps as a retreat from enemies; the entrance might have been stopped, or guarded with little difficulty, and though the vessels that were stationed within would have been battered with stones showered on them from above, yet the crews would have lain safe in the caverns."
24th August 1773 - Fieldnotes by James Boswell
“We got into the coach and drove to Dunbuy, a rock near the shore, just an island covered with seafowl. Then to a circular basin of large extent, surrounded with tremendous rocks. On the quarter to the sea there is a high arch in the rock which the force of the tempest has driven out. This place is called Buchan’s Buller, or the Bullers of Buchan, and the country people call it the Pot. Mr Boyd said it was so called from the French Bouilloire. It may be more simply traced from boiler in our own language.
We walked round this monstrous cauldron. In some places the rock is very narrow, and on each side there is a sea deep enough for a man-of-war to ride in, so that it is somewhat horrid to move along. However, there is earth and grass upon the rock, and a kind of road marked out by the print of feet, so that one makes it out pretty easily. It was rather alarming to see Mr Johnson poking his way. He insisted to take a boat and sail into the Pot. We did so. He was stout and wonderfully alert. It was curious to me to observe the Buchan men all showing their teeth and speaking with that strange sharp accent which distinguishes them. Mr Johnson was not sensible of the difference of pronunciation in the north of Scotland, which I wondered at.
As the entry into the Buller is so narrow that oars cannot be used as you go in, the method taken is to row very hard when you come near it, and give the boat such a rapidity of motion that she glides in. Mr Johnson observed what an effect this scene would have had were we entering into an unknown place. There are caves of considerable depth, I think one on each side. The boatmen had never entered either far enough to know the size. Mr Boyd told us that it is customary for the company at Peterhead Well to make parties and come and dine in one of the caves here.”
Posted by thelonious
19th January 2015ce
Edited 19th January 2015ce