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Rosehearty Harbour
Rosehearty Harbour

Rosehearty lies on the north-facing coast of Aberdeenshire, four miles west of Fraserburgh. It was probably first settled by Danish fishermen in the 1300s and the name means Abhartach's Point in Old Gaelic. History fails to record who Abhartach was.

Fishertown Cottages
Fishertown Cottages
Observation Tower
Observation Tower

In 1424 the Fraser family built Pitsligo Castle on a site a few hundred yards inland from the coast. This was considerably enlarged by the Forbes family in 1570: the Frasers moving to Pittulie Castle which they built a short distance to the east. The remains of the two castles can be seen from Rosehearty.

In the 1630s Sir Alex Forbes, resident of Pitsligo Castle and later to become the First Lord Pitsligo, dramatically expanded the existing settlement of Rosehearty. The aim was to develop a large commercial fishery, with Sir Alex taking 20% of everything landed at his new port. The harbour probably dates back to this expansion, and Pitsligo Church was built in 1632.

Rosehearty Shoreline
Rosehearty Shoreline
Fishing Boats and Harbour
Fishing Boats and Harbour

One of Sir Alex's successors backed the wrong side in the 1715 Jacobite uprising and the lands and title were forfeited. By the 1850s both Pitsligo and Pittulie Castles were derelict: but Rosehearty was booming.

90 fishing boats were based here, supporting a range of marketing and processing activities. But when the railway came to north east Scotland it terminated at Fraserburgh rather than at Rosehearty and the local fishing industry moved there almost overnight.

Today's Rosehearty retains an active, if not exactly a busy, harbour. This lies at the east end of the old heart of the village. Fishertown, which still has its distinctive rows of fishermen's cottages, extends around the shoreline from the harbour not far above the high tide mark. This must be an exciting place in a northerly storm.

To the south of Fishertown is the New Town, built largely during the boom years of the 1800s. This is focussed on its large square. The southern side of Rosehearty is still more recent, concluding with the 9-hole golf club and by the open land around the two ruined castles.

On the west side of Rosehearty is one of its most recent and most distinctive structures, a tall white observation tower associated with the military ranges off the coast here.

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