Homecoming celebration for Burghead’s fishing heritage

The rich heritage of a Moray harbour that is still very much active in the fishing industry is to be celebrated this weekend.

A celebration of the fishing heritage in Burghead will take place on Saturday as part of Scotland’s ‘Homecoming’ year that will see 80 heritage events throughout the Highlands and Moray taking place.

Star of the show in Burghead will be a visit from the superbly maintained herring drifter ‘The Reaper’, which will sail into the port directly from its appearance at the Portsoy Boat Festival.

The Reaper was build by the J&G Forbes yard near Fraserburgh in 1902 for the Buchan family, who live at St Combs.

Organised to coincide with the town’s local gala celebrations, the harbour will be visited by the Moray Inshore Rescue boat, North 58 from Findhorn and the Burghead coastal rowing scull.

Local community councillor Joan Megson said: “We are celebrating the fishing heritage of Burghead – a planned town built to house families displaced from Sutherland during the Highland Clearances.”

The harbour and the granaries are thought to have been designed by Thomas Telford, and built at the start of the 19th Century. Burghead was established as a major herring port and was a hub of industry as home to 43 fishing boats.

There was also a regular steamer service to Glasgow, Leith and Inverness, while the arrival of the railway in 1863 established the town’s links with the whisky industry, cargo vessels bringing grain into the harbour to be processed through maltings in the town.

Activities around the Harbour on Saturday will include Paella on the Pier and a Hog Roast while two bands will provide music throughout the day. Children will be entertained through storytelling, face painting and fishing-related races – alongside the mandatory bouncy castle.

One of the more interesting heritage events on the day will be a ‘Husband carrying race’ – replicating when wives would carry their husbands to their boats.

Further details on events in Burghead this weekend can be found online.


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