Laich Area Profile

This area includes Lossiemouth, Hopeman, Burghead, Cummingston and Roseisle.

Lossiemouth was developed as a new port for Elgin after the original port of Spynie was cut off from the sea when large deposits of sand and shingle were formed by the River Lossie. Although the Loch of Spynie was renowned for its beauty, it no longer served as a shipping port and a new harbour was created at the mouth of the River Lossie. In the 19th century, when the herring industry was at its peak, the present harbour was built to cater for the increased fishing fleet. Designs for new types of fishing boats were also built in Lossiemouth; firstly, the famous 'Zulu' class fishing boat was created and built by a local fisherman in 1879. The first of the seine-net fishing boat was also designed in Lossiemouth after the First World War.

Colonel Brander of Pitgaveny formed a new town to the west called Branderburgh, which grew in time to join Stotfield.

A feature of Burghead is a promontory which juts out into the sea. This promontory has been occupied since prehistoric times, and was once a major centre in Pictland. The promontory is crowned by the remains of a Pictish fort and incorporates a rock-hewn chamber known as the 'Burghead Well'.

Burghead is also famous for its midwinter Yule fire festival known as the 'Burning of the Clavie.' The festival takes place on 11 January (Old Yule Night) each year and attracts 2,000 to 3,000 visitors. The Clavie crew is lead by the Clavie King and they each take it in turns to carry through the street a blazing tar barrel, or clavie. This is made from a whisky barrel and set alight with a burning peat, which is collected from the same house each year. After the Clavie has been carried around the streets it comes to rest on Doorie Hill near the Fort and large amounts of oil, tar and petrol are thrown over the barrel and the hillside. The Clavie is internationally known and many former residents of Burghead return for this night to try and get a piece of the barrel, as it is said to bring you luck for the rest of the year.