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17th century harbour is oldest on firth

Portsoy is built around a picturesque harbour, notably the oldest along the Moray Firth coast.

Portsoy became a ‘burgh of barony’ in 1550, under Sir Walter Ogilvie of Boyne Castle.

Historically, it was situated in Banffshire, but now Aberdeenshire, and lies a few miles along the coast from Cullen, separated by the modern county boundary.

The ‘old harbour’ dates back to the 17th century and makes a formidable backdrop for the annual Scottish Traditional Boat Festival held here every year, attracting thousands of people interested in boatbuilding, restoration and associated crafts.

A new harbour was built in 1825 as the herring fishing industry expanded. A few boats fish out of Portsoy today, however, the real heritage of the harbour village can be seen in the Salmon Bothy Museum.

One notable difference you may see in Portsy’s harbour wall construction is the stones are laid vertically, instead of a horizontal brick-like fashion, in the belief this pattern would make it less likely to be washed away. It must have worked – the harbour was built in 1692, and most of it remains in place today!

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Parking on-site or nearby Children welcome Cyclists welcome Motorcyclists welcome Disabled-friendly Walkers welcome Pets welcome Toilets for public use

Travel itinerary planner

Portsoy is in the following sections: Rather than give you a fixed itinerary, here you’ll find details of nearby attractions and links (tags) to help you find activities similar to those at this location. Don’t rush, slow down, go at your own pace and enjoy your experiences fully. You can use this information to help you plan your stay without missing a thing.
  • Distance from Forres: 39 miles
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  • What’s nearby: Bow Fiddle Rock, Cullen, Findechty
  • Tags: history (all areas)
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