- PORTMAHOMACK, a village and fishing-port, in the parish of Tarbat, district of Mainland, county of Ross and Cromarty, 11 miles (E. by N.) from Tain; containing 479 inhabitants. This village, which is on the northern coast of the peninsula formed by the Dornoch and Moray Friths, is chiefly inhabited by persons employed in the fisheries, for which purpose its situation is highly advantageous. A pier was erected here by the first earl of Cromartie. The harbour, which was the only one on this part of the coast capable of receiving vessels of any considerable burthen, soon became much frequented by vessels trading to Tain, Dornoch, and other towns; and the subsequent introduction of manufactures into the vicinity has contributed greatly to the increase of the village. The principal fishery is that of herrings, which commences in July, and continues till September: about 100 boats are engaged, each of which on an average lands 105 cranes for the curers of this place, exclusively of large quantities carried away to other parts of the country. From the close to the commencement of the herring-season, the inhabitants are employed in the cod and haddock fishery; and from May till August, great numbers of lobsters and salmon are taken, and sold to vessels engaged in collecting them for the London market. The harbour has been much improved by the construction of a pier to replace that erected by the Earl of Cromartie, which had fallen into a dilapidated state: the new pier, which is 420 feet in length, was completed in 1815, at a cost of £3,500, onehalf paid by the Commissioners of the Northern Fisheries, and the other by the proprietor, Mr. Mc Leod, of Geanies. The depth of water at the pier is thirteen feet at spring, and nine feet at neap, tides; and the harbour affords safe anchorage for vessels driven by easterly gales, which can easily pass Tarbat Ness, where a lighthouse has been erected. A vessel trading regularly between the Little Ferry and Leith calls at the village both going and returning. The number of vessels that cleared outwards from the port in 1840 was 112, of the aggregate burthen of 6896 tons; and the quantity of grain exported to London, Leith, and Liverpool, was 3003 quarters, besides other agricultural produce and the fish. The spinning of hemp, for which there is an establishment in the village, belonging to Messrs. Grant and Company, of Inverness, is carried on by females at their own houses, affording employment to about 300 in the parish; and a few persons are also occupied in weaving. A post-office has been established here under that of Tain, from which place a gig conveying passengers arrives daily.
A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. Samuel Lewis. 1856.
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