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If there is one industry that has shaped the lives of so many communities in the Highlands and Moray in the past, it is the fishing industry, probably followed by farming and the production of whisky. While farming and whisky making are still going, large scale fishing is mostly a thing of the past. Yet, so many villages around the Moray Firth boast a rich fishing heritage and the stories and customs from these bygone days have become part of the local identity.
The charming village of Findhorn once served as seaport for the nearby town of Forres, with ships trading with Baltic, Scandinavian and continental ports. Its old port now lies at the bottom of the sea, after it was washed away in a storm in 1701. Still intact is the Icehouse that was built over 150 years ago. These underground chambers were used to store ice for packing the salmon on its way to London.
It is only a short walk through the grass and low sand dunes from the village to Findhorn's wonderful beach and to the mouth of Findhorn Bay, where it is almost guaranteed you’ll spot a colony of seals on a nearby sandbar. You can take a boat trip to have a closer look at them from Findhorn Marina or have a stroll along the beach.
An attractive village with a great beach and a very lovely bay, that always makes us feel as we are on holiday - and there is more! The internationally known Findhorn Foundation, a centre for exploring spiritual and alternative ways of life was founded on a caravan site here in 1962. What started in a caravan, is now a proper village with ecological buildings, businesses, an education centre and an arts centre.
Speaking of the arts, you may have wondered what the fishes were doing in Findhorn the other day.
This year would have marked the 4th edition of the Findhorn Bay Arts Festival - a celebration of the arts and the many talented artists, including musicians, film-makers, dancers, performers, photographers, comedians, novelists and storytellers living around the bay.
With the virus out there, things didn’t go as planned and many of the planned events had to be postponed. But the lovely and creative folk of Findhorn Bay Arts wouldn’t give up that easily, so, alternative projects were launched and some of the events that were planned for the festival still went ahead, just in a slightly different way and against all common marketing approaches.
And so it happened that a jolly swarm of fishes, trained and directed by the lovely Melanie of Surge, suddenly turned up in Findhorn and brought a bit of joy and laughter in these troubling times. The fishes definitely succeeded in their mission with many surprised and smiling faces observing their fishy endeavours - no “devils in fish guise” involved though, but a few of us...