Findhorn has a fascinating history. Archaeological evidence suggests that people have been living in this area for over 7,500 years. The present settlement of Findhorn is, in fact, its second incarnation. The original village had been a mile to the northwest until it was inundated by the sea in the 1702.
The inhabitants moved south and built the existing village, creating the harbour in the late 18th century and Findhorn became an important trading post. Goods such as sugar, tea, silk & cotton were brought from London, glass, leather, soap from Leith, coal from Sutherland and ropes and flax from Aberdeen. The main exports were grain, dyed threads (spun in the village) salmon, and also haddock dried and cured in the local method called 'Findern Speldings'
Although Findhorn was regarded very much as a seaport rather than a fishing village, trade in the 19th century was greatly influenced by fishing, especially haddock and salmon. In the mid 19th century on average six hundred boxes of salmon, packed with ice, were shipped to London each year! Findhorn was a hive of activity. Records show that the village had two schools, a savings bank, a library and plenty of butchers, bakers and 'general dealers'. In 1842 there were no fewer than thirteen public houses and whisky shops!
Towards the end of the 19th Century the bay became increasingly difficult to navigate and Findhorn's position as a sea trading port began to decline. Fishing and boat building continued in the village well into the 20th Century.
Today the village continues to thrive as a haven for residents and visitors who are drawn by the beauty of the bay, the wildlife, community and, of course, the sea!
The Findhorn Heritage Centre & Ice House, open daily during the summer, has a lovely little museum and tells the fascinating history of Findhorn as a major salmon fishing port. It's well worth a visit!
Historical images of Findhorn published with the kind permission of Graham Broadly.