As it was


Station Hotel. The hotelier and his family and staff stand proudly outside their establishment. The Post Office buildings can just be seen to the left of the hotel. The thatched houses stand on what was until recently the hotel car park



The “liquid green” - the housewives of Avoch used to use the foreshore as their drying “green”, and when the tide was in and rain threatened they had to don their “wellies” like Mrs Wilhelmina MacIntyre (shown here) and retrieve their washing.



Avoch Pavilion circa 1900. The club house at the old tennis courts: John Smith Postmaster and General Merchant is the man on the right sporting the straw boater. Any ideas who the others are?


Fisher children play on George Street. To the right of the wall on the right was a big drop to the mill stream below


gatheringwoodA “burden” - a man carrying home driftwood for the fire. It was a normal sight to see in Avoch even into the 1930s and 1940s. Normally the women and children would go to the woods to collect sticks for the hearth and return to the village with their bundles tied to their backs with rope. These bundles were called “burdens”.

The village of Avoch is surrounded by woodland. Within living memory, gathering firewood often led to confrontation with estate gamekeepers.

Men used a rope with a stone tied at one end (a “cleek”) to pull down  dry branches while women carried “burdeens” of dry brushwood.

In 1656 there was a record of a summons to over one hundred people to appear at court in Fortrose charged with “woodcutting at Craigswood, Chanonry, at Avoch and Pittanochtie”. There is no record of their fate, but it is to be hoped they were let off more lightly than William MacPhail and Christian McRyne, who, for stealing grain in 1698, were sentenced at Fortrose to have their right ears nailed to the Mercat Cross “there to stand for one hours time, and thereafter to be banished this town and shire and never to return again”.

Travelling people - until the late 1940s the “travelling people” were a distinct feature of the Black Isle community, with their own customs and way of life.

travellingpeople2  travellingpeople3

Avoch Gala - every year from 1953 Avoch has held a gala at which a Herring Queen presides.Well known personalities have come to the village to crown the queen. In the picture “Dr Finlay” (Bill Simpson) and Pearl Murray crowned Kay Patience in 1969.


During the last week of October 1945, there were record levels of rainfall in Ross-shire with flooding in many places.

floodOn the evening of Sunday 27th October, the bank of the main lake at Rosehaugh estate gave way, giving a huge surge of water which flowed down Avoch burn causing flooding all along its course and in the village. The Dock area was badly affected.

In the days before about 1950, when the sea-wall was built, high tides sometimes caused problems. There was an exceptionally high tide on one day in the 19th century, when the sea came in half way up the streets of Fishertown.