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Garmouth Harbour

Harbour (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Garmouth Harbour

Classification Harbour (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Germuch; Germagh; River Spey

Canmore ID 80401

Site Number NJ36SW 25

NGR NJ 34 64

NGR Description NJ c. 34 64

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/80401

Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Moray
  • Parish Urquhart
  • Former Region Grampian
  • Former District Moray
  • Former County Morayshire

Archaeology Notes

NJ26SW 25 c. 34 64

Garmouth appears in the form of 'Germuch' on Blaeu's map of 'Moravia' which incorporates material from Timothy Pont's papers, but this is not much evidence for a harbour. The mouth of the Spey was never suitable for a harbour, having been bedevilled by bars and shifting channels, and two 17th-century records describe it respectively as 'importuosus et navibus parum tutus' and 'nullo portu insignis' admitting only small craft, and that with difficulty. Similar language was used of the harbour and town of 'Germagh' in 1775, when the harbour was said to receive no ships of burden, being 'choked with sand and shut up by a bar'. When Charles II landed there in 1650 he was rowed in from a ship lying off shore and was carried from the boat to dry land by a local man. In 1794 Garmouth lacked a landing-place and the people of the parish preferred to use Lossiemoth or Speymouth.

Changes were, however, on the way, as in 1784 a Hull company bought Glenmore forest on the upper Spey and floated their logs down the river, forming the village of Kingston (named after Kingston-upon-Hull) on a site adjoining Garmouth, and there setting up a ship- and boatbuilding yard and a depot for the export of timber. Whatever harbour existed at Garmouth in 1829 was damaged by the great flood of that year, and was subsequently ?far from good?. In 1847 the place was classed simply as a river-mouth with a trade in timber and boat-building.

No traces of harbour-works or building installations could be seen in 1973, but some of the cottages on the seafront were said locally to have survived from before the great flood.

A Graham 1979.

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