Stoker’s Port Erroll novel

The Watter's Mou' which inspired Bram Stoker's novel set in Port Erroll.
The Watter's Mou' which inspired Bram Stoker's novel set in Port Erroll.

Dracula author Bram Stoker’s links to Cruden Bay are well documented.

But not so well known is that he published a book set in Port Erroll in 1895 - the same year he began writing the horror story.

The Watter’s Mou’ tells of a woman in love with a man whose job it is to stop smuggling by poor fishermen like her father.

Dracula is often said to have been inspired by Stoker’s visit to Slains Castle.

He fell in love with Cruden Bay while on holiday recuperating from a bout of poor health. The author stayed in the Kilmarnock Arms Hotel and regularly returned to the village.

In a 1972 interview, the then 96-year-old Mrs Cruickshank described how she knew Stoker from her time running the hotel.

She told Scots Magazine: “Mr Stoker told me that he got all the ideas for his stories when he was on holiday in Cruden Bay, walking the sands to Whinnyfold or scrambling over the rocks north to the castle and the Bullers.”

The 1893 visit directly inspired The Watter’s Mou’ - a coastal feature to the south of Slains Castle still bearing the name.

The pathway from Port Erroll to Slains follows a small burn in a rocky gully. It is this burn that forms the Watter’s Mou’ as it joins the sea.

Many landmarks in the book can still be seen in and around the village and are just as familiar these days.

Port Erroll is valued for its built heritage - one of several well-preserved fishing villages around the Buchan coast. It also has something extra to boast about – a literary history.