History

History

LOSSIEMOUTH HARBOUR

1834 – When the original harbour at the mouth of the River Lossie became unfit for purpose being unable to sustain access by larger sailing vessels due to shallowness and often dangerous entry, an alternative was required.

The Stotfield and Lossiemouth Harbour Company was formed in 1834 to this aim and shortly was renamed the Elgin and Lossiemouth Harbour Company to reflect the business investors of Elgin and a new harbour was built at Stotfield Point by 1839. It proved a great success and was able to accommodate larger sailing ships and more fishing boats. As trade increased it was enlarged and in 1857 a new west basin was opened.

The harbour became the major sea port for the area with cargos of salt, coal, timber, oats, slates, and barley being imported with whisky, herring, timber, potatoes and stones being the main exports. More fishing vessels were attracted to the port at this time and as sail gave way to steam and the railways, cargo trade reduced and fishing became the main industry. Small sail fishing vessels became larger mainly line fishing for white fish and drift nets for herring to be superseded by the steam drifter and then the motor seine netter.

Lossiemouth fishermen have always been innovative. The first Zulu sailing vessel built was the “Nonesuch “designed and built in Lossiemouth, being very fast and manoeuvrable it was so successful it was built in vast numbers. The Danish seine net method of fishing was adapted and improved by Lossiemouth fishermen with the first custom built seiner the “Marigold” being built in Lossiemouth in 1921.

Lossiemouth became a major white fishing port and had great success being the third largest white fish landing port in Scotland at one time but as fishing grounds became less productive and the event of UK joining the EEC in 1973 the fishing industry declined rapidly thereafter.

In 1990 the Directors of the Elgin & Lossiemouth Harbour Company realised that change was necessary for survival and it was decided to cater for the growing leisure sailing and boating industry and the first pontoons were introduced. This proved to be successful and Lossiemouth Marina came into being and now has 125 serviced berths and caters for visitors from all parts.

The harbour at Lossiemouth has had three lives – a busy seaport, an important fishing port and now a modern marina, all different but ensuring its ability to remain viable and an attractive place to visit
into the future.

Timeline

1834 Stotfield and Lossiemouth Harbour Company was formed
1836 Elgin and Lossiemouth Harbour company was renamed
1837 Foundation stone was laid
1839 East basin was opened
1857 West basin opened, 106 fishing boats using the harbour
1857 Port of call for Leith to Inverness passenger service
1887 ‘Nonesuch’ first Zulu fishing vessel designed and built
1897 Became a licensed port for handling dynamite
1921 ‘Marigold’ first purpose built seiner designed and launched
1973 United Kingdom joined EEC
1990 First pontoons and fingers installed in east basin and Lossiemouth Marina became the third life of the Harbour

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