Cultural and Maritime Heritage
A long history of marine and coastal resource use and the development of maritime industries, has left the Moray Firth with a rich and diverse cultural and maritime heritage. This is highly valued as an integral part of the Moray Firth’s character and culture and is a major tourist attraction. The individual features of the coast including buildings, archaeological sites and shipwrecks form the fabric of the built heritage of the Firth. Certain elements, such as the fishing villages, are distinctive to the area; others are part of a pattern of connections throughout Scotland, linking the hinterland to its coastal fringe. Other facets of the cultural heritage include the arts, local customs, traditions, crafts and skills, language and dialect.
The heritage of the Moray Firth is closely tied the fishing industry and in the past few years a collection of the traditional fishing boats including fifies, scaffies, zulus and yoles has been restored. Although these boats are remembered by the older generations, they are not very well known among the younger and more recent inhabitants of the Moray Firth area. The Moray Firth Flotilla was organised as part of the Highland 2007 celebrations with the original idea to remind people about the importance of the Moray Firth, and to educate youngsters, incomers and visitors about its rich fishing culture and heritage.
Another Partnership project that celebrates the cultural maritime heritage of the Firth is the Gansey project. This exciting three year project focuses on the tradition of hand knitted ganseys in the Moray Firth’s fishing communities as a way of preserving this important part of our culture and introducing the craft – and the area’s wider fishing heritage – to new audiences.