Ships and Trade

The sea route was the only way goods (except cattle) could be traded from here until the Black Isle railway opened in 1894.

Donald Sinclair (Donald the Sailor) took cargoes of salt and tallow from Caithness to Avoch in the 1720s. Barrels of salt herring were exported later that century.

The 31-ton sloop “Gracie”, built in Avoch in 1810, and the 80-ton schooner “Rosehaugh”, built here in 1841 by D Davidson, also traded from Avoch. The Garmouth-built schooner “Despatch” (197 tons, shown below) belonging to D MacLeman with a captain and crew from Avoch, brought coal and loaded cargoes of grain, potatoes and timber.

Other schooners involved were the “Alert”, “Billow”, “Criagness” and “Young Fox”. The last of these was lost with all hands off Findhorn.

Between the wars, steam vessels such as the “Scarv” brought coal from the north of England.

In the late 1970s a coal boat came to the harbour, and in the early 1980s the last cargo boat took straw bales to Orkney.

The last coal boat in Avoch harbour
Dredging Avoch harbour