- FINDHORN, a burgh and sea-port town, in the parish of Kinloss, county of Elgin, 4 miles (N. by E.) from Forres; containing 806 inhabitants. This place, the name of which signifies "the mouth of the Erne," stands on the northern boundary of the county, and near the river Erne, or Findhorn, which expands into a capacious bay called Loch Findhorn, on the west of the town, and communicates by a narrow strait with the Moray Frith. It is a burgh of barony, the sea-port of Forres, and the property of H. A. I. Munro, Esq.; it is inhabited chiefly by fishermen, seafaring persons, and a few merchants and tradespeople, and is the seat of a very considerable traffic. This is the third town of the same name, the first, which stood about a mile west of the bar at the mouth of the harbour, and the second, a little to the north of the present town, having both been washed away by the sea. Even now, only a small space, containing a broken bank of sand, intervenes between the tide-mark and the north end of the town, forming the sole rampart against the tremendous swell occasioned by north-easterly winds; and this is sometimes so torn and drifted by hurricanes, that the sand covers the streets and gardens to the depth of ten or twelve feet, threatening the town with destruction at no distant period. The river, affording fine trout-angling, and famed for its romantic scenery, rises in the mountains near Badenoch, and, after a serpentine and impetuous course of about sixty miles from the south-west, through the counties of Inverness, Nairn, and Elgin, often carrying, in rainy seasons, desolation to the neighbouring crops, expands into the bay already referred to, and joins the Frith.Findhorn is one of the safest harbours on the coast; it measures in length, from the bar at the north to its southern limit, three and a half miles, the breadth varying from a little more than half a mile to two miles. There are two quays of hewn stone, one of which was recently erected with a breast-work, by which it is joined to the old pier, at an expense of upwards of £1300; superior accommodation is afforded for shipping, and the depth of water in the channel, where most shallow, is ten and a half feet at the lowest neap tide, and from thirteen to seventeen at high tide. A considerable part of the bay is dry at low water; but the river, in some places half a mile broad, has, at the lowest ebb of stream tides, from twelve to fifteen feet of water, in which the largest vessels can float in safety. The earth and sand bank at the entrance, called the bar, and by some supposed to be a portion of the land encroached upon by the sea, would prove dangerous from its shifting with strong floods or easterly winds; but the pilots understand its nature so well, that an accident is scarcely ever heard of. The fisheries pursued are those of salmon, herrings, and haddock, which are carried on with great spirit, and prove a source of considerable emolument to the proprietors: about sixty men are engaged, who follow their avocation in large boats carrying several persons and from eight to ten tons' weight of fish. The salmon-fishery produces annually, on an average, about six hundred boxes of fish, each valued at £5, and sent, packed in ice, to the London market: the herring-fishery, which has been carried on for above twenty years, has for a long time supplied 20,000 barrels every year; and the haddock-fishery is valued at £2000. There are twelve vessels belonging to the port, together registered at 1000 tons, and occupied in an extensive coasting-trade. The imports comprise great quantities of Sunderland and Newcastle coal, and lime from the same places; coal from the Frith of Forth, slates from Ballichulish, iron from Wales and Staffordshire, salt from Liverpool, and large supplies of bone-dust for manure. The exports for provincial use consist of herrings, grain, eggs, and about 2000 loads of timber every year from the forests of Darnaway and Altyre. The port is also visited by foreign vessels, bringing iron, timber, and tar from the Baltic, and timber from British North America; and there are regular trading smacks from London, Leith, and Liverpool, with cargoes for Forres, Elgin, and Nairn. A very good turnpike-road runs from Findhorn to Forres, between which places there is a daily post; and from this road a branch diverges at the bridge of Kinloss, eastward to Burgh-Head and Elgin. Fairs are held in the town for the sale of sheep, blackcattle, and horses, on the second Wednesday in March, July, and October, O. S. An Assembly's school was till lately supported, the master of which had a salary of £20, and about £12 fees, with an allowance of £10 from Mr. Munro, of Novar, in lieu of land and other accommodations: a school-room and a house for the master were built a few years since, at a cost of £160, raised by subscription and public collections. This school is now maintained from the funds of the Free Church, and is in strict connexion with it.
A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. Samuel Lewis. 1856.
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