Visit Peterhead and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:
Peterhead, Aberdeenshire. The modern capital of Buchan and the largest town in the county after Aberdeen, this busy fishing port is built on a peninsula, the outermost tip of which shares with Buchanness, a little along the coast, the distinction of being Scotland's easternmost limit.
If you love the sea, you will warm to Peterhead despite the sternness of its aspect, which can hardly be denied. John Baxter's Town House, built in 1788 at a total cost of £2,000, on the highest point of land on the peninsula, at the North West end of Broad Street, dominates the heart of the town. It has an even taller steeple than the church, with a four-dialled clock and a bell.
But the most characteristic feature of Peterhead is the harbour, formed by a succession of basins between the mainland and the island of Keith Inch, now linked to the town by its piers, and sheltering the fishing-fleet, still the most important unit of its kind North of Aberdeen. The town was founded by George Keith, the 5th Marischal, in 1593.
Peterhead then had fifty-six inhabitants. Now it has 19,000. Within the town itself virtually nothing survives of the Earl's foundation. The last two houses — in Port Henry Lane, between Longate and the harbour — that provided a link with the founder, were demolished some years ago to make way for a housing redevelopment. The Keiths acquired the lands on which the town was built as the result of a deal between Robert Keith, Commendator of Deer, and the government of the day, whereby he handed over the lands of the Abbey of Deer to the Crown and received in return the Lordship of Altries.
This Robert was succeeded in possession by his nephew, the 5th Earl Marischal, and for the next century and a quarter the Keiths were the masters of the growing community. The fragmentary ruin of their stronghold, the 16th century. Inverugie Castle, 3 miles North West of the town, is a melancholy reminder of the manner in which they passed from the scene.
George, the 10th Earl Marischal, born at Inverugie on the 2nd of April 1693, and his brother James, three years younger, were both great and statesmanlike men. But they were both in the first flush of youth when the Earl of Mar raised the standard of James VIII, at Braemar in 1715. Influenced by their strongly pro-Jacobite mother, they joined the ill-fated rising and went into exile on its collapse. On the Continent their true qualities became apparent. James became the trusted general of Frederick the Great, and died in Prussia's service at the Battle of Hochkirchen. George, the last Earl Marischal, became Frederick's devoted adviser. Both made their peace with the Hanoverian dynasty. On the 25th of May 1759, the attainder against the Earl Marischal was reversed by the British Parliament. He bought back the estate of Inverugie, and, after an absence of almost 50 years, revisited Peter-head amid scenes of wild enthusiasm.
There is no question but that, in Peterhead and elsewhere throughout their once vast domains in the North East of Scotland, the Keiths inspired deep loyalty and affection. When, in 1868, a statue of Field-Marshal Keith that had stood in Potsdam was presented by King William I of Prussia to the burgh of Peter-head, and was unveiled on its present site in Broad Street, the occasion was greeted with enthusiasm.
In 1728 the superiority of the estate of Peterhead was acquired by the Governors of the Merchant Maiden Hospital in Edinburgh. Through an acquiescent town council, they virtually controlled the burgh for the next 104 years, although a mass meeting of the local feuers in 1752 secured a system of partial local representation. Some of the stern plainness of modern Peterhead is undoubtedly due to the tensions that existed between the wishes of the local inhabitants and the over-ruling control of the Edinburgh “lairds”. Burgh reform in 1833 enabled Peterhead to elect a representative town council of its own.
Incredible as it may seem, Peterhead became a fashionable spa at the end of the 18th century, when its famous Wine Well and other springs were put to use, and elaborate warm baths were built to cater for an aristocratic clientele. As at Ballater its first customers were ex-Jacobite gentry. In the 19th century the port became the “capital” of British whaling, which reached its peak in 1820, when fifteen whalers brought home 103 Arctic whales.
As the whaling industry declined, it was replaced by the great herring boom, which continued throughout the entire century and reached its maximum intensity in 1907, when 291,713 crans were landed by 420 boats.
The huge Harbour of Refuge was the first major public work of the kind ever undertaken in Scotland.
There is interesting countryside to explore in the vicinity of Peterhead: long sandy beaches to the North and spectacular rock scenery to the South. The vale of the Ugie to the North West, with the ruined castles of Ravenscraig and Inverugie, has a quiet rural charm.
Nearby cities: Aberdeen
Nearby towns: Ellon, Fraserburgh, Mintlaw
Nearby villages: Aldie, Auchmacoy, Blackmill, Boddam, Bullers of Buchan, Burnhaven, Cairness, Crimond, Cruden Bay, Dens, Fetterangus, Hatton, Inverugie, Longside, Nether Kinmundy, New Leads, Old Deer, Rathen, Rora, Schivas, Stuartfield
Have you decided to visit Peterhead or the surrounding villages? Please look above for somewhere to stay in:
- a Peterhead bed and breakfast (a Peterhead B&B or Peterhead b and b)
- a Peterhead guesthouse
- a Peterhead hotel (or motel)
- a Peterhead self-catering establishment, or
- other Peterhead accommodation