Other Communities

Many of the smaller communities have a character all of their own and each plays its part in making Moray such a pleasant and rewarding area to live and to visit.

The neighbouring coastal towns of Cullen, Portknockie and Findochty, each has its neat little harbour. Cullen, with its imposing but long-disused viaduct, is best known as the home of Cullen skink, a delicious soup-like dish of fish and potatoes.

Further west, the villages of Spey Bay, Garmouth and Kingston are clustered round the estuary of the River Spey.  Garmouth was the scene of the signing of the Solemn League and Covenant by King Charles II on his return from exile in 1650.

Only a few miles upriver is Fochabers, founded in 1776 by the Duke of Gordon. The original settlement was, from the duke’s point of view, uncomfortably close to his family pile at Gordon Castle and he decided that his subjects should be kept at arm’s length by moving the village.
Fochabers has a village square with church and fountain and can also claim to have one of the prettiest cricket grounds in Scotland, perched as it is on the banks of the Spey.

Further upriver and into whisky country are Rothes and Aberlour and, lying between them, Craigellachie and its iconic Telford Bridge spanning the Spey. The structure, built in the early 1800s, is the oldest surviving iron bridge in Scotland and is considered to be one of Thomas Telford’s finest engineering achievements. Along with Elgin Cathedral, it is one of Moray’s most photographed buildings. Of all Moray’s communities Tomintoul is farthest inland and, standing at 1150ft above sea level, is the second highest village in Scotland. With its long main street, the village depends heavily on summer tourist trade although it also benefits from the proximity of the Lecht ski centre.  Tomintoul was used in the film ‘One Last Chance’

Heading back towards the coast is the small village of Dallas which was catapulted into the limelight in the late 1970s thanks to the hit American television soap of the same name.

Although it had little or nothing in common with its Texan namesake, Dallas nonetheless basked in its hour of global glory as inquisitive visitors from all over the world arrived to see if Moray had its own versions of JR and Southfork.

Overlooking a tidal bay and the Moray Firth, Findhorn is one of Moray’s quaintest and most-visited villages and over the years has become something of a playground for yachting and watersport enthusiasts. Burghead, with its harbour still used by a fleet of small fishing vessels, can trace its roots back to Pictish times and its former coastguard lookout post has recently been converted into a local heritage centre. The town’s Pictish past is revived every year with the annual Burning of the Clavie ceremony, one of Scotland’s few surviving fire-worshipping ceremonies.

Hopeman, itself comes with an attractive harbour marina and two beaches, the East Beach and the West Beach. The West Beach is the sandier of the two, The East Beach is a mixture of sand and rocky areas, and curves round to a rocky promontory. This beach is backed by what is these days something of a rarity: a line of beach huts, all individually and in some cases beautifully painted.