Collieston Beach Photo

Collieston Beach - Grampian

Collieston: a wild day in smuggling country

This is view from the Hill of Cransdale across Tarness Haven to the old fishing village of Collieston, a few miles north of Newburgh on Ythan. Fishing for herring, haddock, whiting and cod flourished in the 17th and 18th centuries and formed the backbone of Collieston's economy. The village was well-known for 'Collieston Speldings', salted and sun-dried haddock and whiting, a popular delicacy far and wide and a favourite of Lawrence of Arabia when he holidayed in the village in the 1930s. Today commercial fishing is but a memory but the village is a popular with commuters and holidaymakers. The numerous sea caves in the nearby cliffs, and small coves with shingle beaches provided ideal terrain for smugglers and in the late 18th century they were landing up to 8000 gallons of foreign spirits every month. In 1798, a notorious smuggler, Phillip Kennedy, was killed by a blow from an exciseman's cutlass. His tombstone still stands in the village graveyard [[388889]]. Around the corner, to the left, of this viewpoint there is "St Catherine's Dub, a dark, cliff-girt, bay, traditionally the site of the sinking of a Spanish Armada ship. It was, in fact, the Santa Caterina a ship from the Spanish Netherlands gun-running for Francis, eighth Earl of Erroll's Catholic uprising in 1594. He died in 1631 and was buried 'upone the nicht' in the nearby kirk at Slains. His body was 'convoyit quyetlie with his awin domesticks and countrie freindis and with torche licht'. It was the Earl's wish that the expense saved should be given to the poor." Quotation taken from "Aberdeenshire: Donside and Strathbogie - An Illustrated Architectural Guide", by Ian Shepherd, 2006. Published by the Rutland Press. There is a tangible link to these events at Haddo House where a cannon recovered from the Galleon still lies in the garden [[2091571]] .

© Martyn Gorman and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Taken at: Collieston Beach, North Scotland

Date taken / added: 8th Mar 2011

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