Caithness history – the ground beneath us …

Just as granite defined the character of Aberdeenshire since it was first used, Caithness’ foundation is based on the buildup of millions of years of sediment which formed another strong and durable material – flagstone.

Elgin history – the lone Wolf …?

Wolf of Badenoch

Having done some digging on the various references to Badenoch in this area and reading about the infamous Wolf of Badenoch, I’m swaying a little on just how fierce a tyrant he was compared to his peers, who all ruled very firmly with their sword at this time. What is certain is that there’s no absolute certainty.

The wild side of Elgin history …

Moray was without doubt one of the most important regions of Scotland from early times, with the county town of Elgin becoming a place of great influence. The surrounding forests and rich plains became the favourite destination for early monarchs to enjoy prolific hunting grounds. In the early 1200s, the town was established as the main episcopal seat for the local bishopry …

Early care in the community …

At first glance, Fairview House on the outskirts of Halkirk looks like a fairly contemporary building. The comprehensive refurbishment programme undertaken over the last decade masks the historic significance of the building, which now provides a fine collection of affordable, comfortable residential flats.

Hooked on the Highlands

Braal Castle

Salmon fishing as a sport in Scotland was well established before the 19th century, but it took some considerable time for people to be persuaded to venture as far north as Caithness to enjoy the delights of fishing on the thirty mile stretch of the River Thurso. During the 19th Century, there is one name […]

Grim Goings On…


The original Castle at Braal probably dates back to the mid-14th Century and is deeply rooted in the strong Nordic influence that reigned in the north of Scotland at the time. It’s tucked away behind the three-storey 19th Century building known as Braal Castle, close to the banks of the River Thurso at Halkirk, reputed […]

Close Encounters

It’s hard to imagine just how much today’s High Street has changed over the centuries. From the distinctive arcaded dwellings of the 1600s to the more stately architecture of the Georgian and Victorian eras, life in the many closes leading off the High Street was much less appealing. In medieval times, access to what was […]

Are You Being Served?

Old photo of the St Giles Shopping Centre in Elgin

Who doesn’t just love the delights of a traditional department store?  There’s something for everyone.  These shops dominated town centres across the UK from as early as 1796, when it is reputed the world’s very first ‘one-stop-shop’ was opened in London, selling haberdashery, millinery, jewellery and clocks.  Many of these stores were established by drapers […]

Hospitality Down the Ages


‘Hospitality’ may feel like a reasonably modern term in the sense of going out to enjoy a drink, a meal or entertainment, but it has its roots firmly in ancient history. During the age of early travel and the development of trade routes across the north of Scotland, local inns offered primitive rooms with stable […]

The Father of Scottish Tourism

Vintage image of Fochabers High Street

Speyside Business Centre is a reasonably new addition to Fochabers’ environs, particularly in comparison to some of the fine historic buildings which make up this distinctive 18th Century planned village. Although its features have a more modern architectural character, the Business Centre can boast an interesting past due to the grounds it stands in. This […]