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The village lies just three miles east of Cullen on the west side of the Scattery Burn as it flows into the Moray Firth at the west end of the expanse of sand lining Sandend Bay. The beach here is popular in summer with families and with surfers and extends about half a mile to the east. The far end of the bay is marked by the mouth of the Burn of Fordyce.
The oldest part of Sandend huddles around the south side of its harbour. The village actually predates many of the much larger towns and villages along this coast, being very well established by the early 1600s. The harbour you see today was constructed in the 1800s, and it seems likely that most of the fisher cottages that huddle around it, end on to the sea, date back to around the same time.
Sandend's relative obscurity as a port today compared with Banff, Portsoy or Cullen owes much to a fairly exposed location, and perhaps the difficulty of building on the sandy land east of the Scattery Burn.
A mile to the west is along the coast is Findlater Castle. Its precarious and dangerous ruins sit atop a spur projecting from the cliffs, having been abandoned for a more modern house in Cullen by the Ogilvies of Findlater in the 1600s. A little inland from the castle, near the parking area, is a doocot dating back to the 1500s.
At the east end of Sandend Bay is Glenglassaugh Distillery. This lay mothballed for over two decades until production restarted on 4 December 2008. It was built to be powered by the waters of the Burn of Fordyce in 1875. Another natural resource was already in use at the Glassaugh Windmill, built in the early 1700s and still standing as a stump surrounded by a lower base: which explains its local name of the cup and saucer.