About

Panorama of Collieston

Collieston Then

The historic and picturesque village of Collieston is situated on the north-east coast of Scotland some twenty miles north of Aberdeen. The parish of Slains, with its rocky coast and hidden inlets, was a haven for smugglers in the 18th century when local fishermen and farmers worked together to smuggle goods from the continent to avoid paying taxes to the detested House of Hanover. A tragic event occurred on 19th December 1798 when some local smugglers were ambushed by revenue officers. Farm worker Philip Kennedy (38yrs) was badly wounded but managed to crawl to nearby Kirkton Farm where he died stretched out on a deiss (bench) in the kitchen. Philip Kennedy’s grave is located near the entrance to Slains Kirk.

Once a thriving and prosperous fishing community, the construction of Collieston’s pier in 1894 inadvertently hastened the demise of the local fishing industry. The build-up of sand in the harbour coincided with the advent of steam trawling and many fishing families left the village to pursue their trade in Torry, Aberdeen.  For older fishermen and their wives who chose to remain in the village, fishing continued to be the focal point of their lives. Collieston became famous for speldings, split and dried haddock or whiting, and day trippers and holiday makers would flock to the village’s Bakery and Refreshment Rooms for a ‘Spelding Tea’ or to buy a ‘take-away’.

Collieston has attracted countless visitors for many years. One famous visitor who stayed in a house on the pier for a short time in 1930 was Aircraftsman T.E. Shaw (Lawrence of Arabia).

Collieston Now

At the beginning of the 21st century former fishermen’s houses, modernised and well-maintained, stand huddled together on terraces overlooking Collieston’s pier, the picturesque harbour and the safe, sandy beach.  Bordering the village, the Forvie National Nature Reserve is popular all year round with walkers and birdwatchers. It is home to the largest population of breeding eider ducks in Britain, four species of breeding terns and large flocks of wading birds.

Collieston has a cosmopolitan population of around 200 and a variety of community groups to cater for all ages and residents in the village and the wider parish of Slains.  The website links these and allows users to interact with the groups and Collieston’s Facebook community.

We welcome feedback on this site as well as any news and contributions you wish to be considered for publication.  Please e-mail colliestononline@yahoo.co.uk

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2 thoughts on “About

  1. Thankyou to the new initiative in the Waiting room. Great to be able to visit the village and get a sweetie or a cappie or even a cuppie. Hope this venture is successful and good luck to the ladies. Hope they can maintain in the winter months as a hot drink is very welcome after a walk on the wild side.

  2. I thought I would send you a copy of the letter I have sent to Aberdeenshire Council. I really do hope the toilets stay open.

    I would have preferred to write a letter but after 5 minutes of looking I have been unable to find an address.
    Looking at a Collieston website I see that you want to close the public toilets at Low Town, Collieston. This is a disappointing decision. As you can see I live in the English midlands, 500 miles away from the north east. But in recent years I have made an annual ‘pilgrimage’ to the village, partly to celebrate my connection with it through the Walker family – fisherfolk many of whom almost inevitably finished up in Aberdeen – and partly because I find it such a beautiful place.
    And there is another thing. My great aunt Annabelle Bruce – ‘Bella of the Bog’ – led the successful protest when the water board wanted to shut off the Bog Wall well in the thirties.
    So it seems that it would be wrong of me not to protest against the closure of the Collieston toilets. Whatever the weather I have never visited the village without seeing other visitors, even in cooler weather. Walkers pass through, people like me visit for a couple of hours, children and their parents enjoy the beautiful, clean, sheltered beach.
    I don’t always have to use the toilet when I visit but I’m getting on now and I can imagine that in future it will be a necessity and a welcome sight. It is an essential amenity which I am sure is used and greatly appreciated by thousands of people every year. Next year I hope we can show our grandchildren the north east for the first time but do not want to have to work the visit round the ability to get to a toilet.
    The other proposals for closure? I cannot argue personally for them but as a general principal, if Aberdeenshire is serious about attracting tourists (even more important in future if the current depression in the oil industry persists), huge efforts should be made to keep all well-used toilets open. Anything else is a false economy.
    Yours,
    Sandy Wood – Grandson of Agnes Jane Bruce from Low Town Collieston (1880-1955)

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