Discover the history of Findhorn at the Icehouse and Heritage Centre

The Findhorn Village Icehouse and Heritage Centre are fantastic places to explore when staying with Carden Cottages.

No secrets of what lies within are given from the outside of the Icehouse | Credit: Tim N

 

Both the Icehouse and the Heritage Centre allow visitors to delve into the history of the area, delivering information about the salmon fishing industry in the Moray area and revealing the secrets of the Sands of Findhorn.

When I first visited these sites I didn’t know what to expect – but I was truly blown away by the vast amount of historic information that was on display, as well as the fantastic knowledge that the volunteers had!

The Icehouse contains fascinating underground chambers that were built to store ice for packing salmon on route to London.  You can explore the almost 150 year old chambers and admire displays that teach you about different aspects of the local salmon fishing industry.

While exploring these intriguing underground arched chambers, you can learn about the history of ice houses, the life cycle of the Atlantic salmon, salmon net fishing across the Moray coast and a fisherman’s life in the bothies.

The Findhorn Heritage Centre and Icehouse have some interesting displays about the history of the area | Credit: Lightfolio

In the Heritage Centre you can learn the secrets of the Sands of Findhorn and enjoy hearing stories of the village all through history from knowledgeable and enthusiastic volunteers.  With albums of historic photographs and texts on village history showcasing information covering all the way back to the earliest residents of Findhorn and the Bronze Age, this is the perfect place to go if you are interested in local history.

The Centre and Icehouse make learning about the history of Findhorn and its fishing industry interesting and exciting.  This is mainly down to the work of the fantastic volunteers who gathered all the information together and do a wonderful job of greeting everyone and answering any questions you have.

The Findhorn Village Heritage Trust Centre and Icehouse are open from 2pm to 5pm daily in June, July and August.  They are open on Saturdays and Sundays only during May and September.  Entry is free, but a donation can be given to help support the facilities and the volunteers.

Findhorn is only just over a 15 minute drive from your stay at Carden Cottages, making it a must visit during your holiday.

Discover the history of Kinloss Abbey

The ruins of a beautiful Abbey lie within the picturesque setting of Kinloss village.  It is a must visit for history fans and lovers of fantastic scenery when staying at Carden Cottages in the Moray area.

The fantastic remains of Kinloss Abbey lies in the beautiful landscape of Kinloss | Credit: Valenta

The Cistercian Abbey is a great place to visit to learn about history, folklore and to admire the beautiful ruins and surroundings.

The Kinloss Abbey was founded in 1150 by King David I of Scotland.  He was said to be hunting nearby when he was separated from the rest of his party.  Then, lost in the thick woodland that used to cover the majority of that area, he prayed for guidance.

It is said that he was then led by a dove to a shelter belonging to some shepherds where he spent the night.  During his slumber, he apparently dreamt that he was instructed to establish a church to give thanks for his rescue and marked out the plan of the Abbey with his sword the next morning, before leaving to find his party at Duffus Castle.

After he told his nobles of his vision, he called architects and masons that were working on various royal projects and ordered that the Kinloss Abbey would be created.  He remained at Duffus to oversee his project, until he was called away by other affairs.

The idea for Kinloss Abbey came to King David I of Scotland in a dream | Credit: Wikimedia

When King David I had to leave, he sent to Melrose for a monk, whom he set in charge over his builders and the rising monastery, of which he was afterwards made the first Abbot.

Upon visiting today, you can see that only ruins remain where the once richest Abbey in Scotland used to stand.  The remains of the South Transept with associated Chapel and the Sacristy with the Prior’s Chamber above can all be found and admired in Kinloss.

At the south and west are two near complete cloister walls one containing the Lavatorium and archway into the Refectory.  South of the Abbey, outside the cemetery is Abbot’s House.

From ground level you can see the remains of most of the foundations or low walls of the Abbey including the south wall of the church, the north Transept and many of the columns within the Nave.

Kinloss Abbey is surrounded by beautiful countryside | Credit: Kinloss Abbey Trust

Walking around the Abbey grounds, you can see information boards that are full of interesting facts that help guide you through the ruins.

Entrance to the Abbey grounds is free and is cared for by the Kinloss Abbey Trust.

Kinloss Abbey is only a 10 minute drive from Carden Cottages, and only around a 5 minute drive from Forres, where you can visit other historical sites such as Nelson’s Tower and Sueno’s Stone.

Escape at Hopeman

A great reason to visit Carden Cottages is to escape the hectic hustle and bustle of everyday life.  A great place to do this in the Moray area is the quaint village of Hopeman.

Hopeman beach is a great place to relax and take in surrounding scenery and wildlife

I love visiting Hopeman’s stunning beach, with family and friends, or even just on my own, to relax, take in the scenery and enjoy the wildlife.

Hopeman is well known for its beautiful beach, along with its exquisite wildlife.  From birds like the Curlew, the Oystercatcher and the Yellowhammer soaring above, to Bottlenose dolphins swimming in the sea, it checks all the boxes for fans of wildlife.

The seaside village also proudly presents lots of plaques in the area, informing visitors of it’s rich history.  Many of these sit alongside pieces that showcase the village’s relationship with the fishing industry, including the Braemou well and the Hopeman Harbour Crane.

Along with its beautiful scenery, Hopeman has some gorgeous colourful beach huts
The Braemou well was seen as a holy well, with people travelling from the surrounding area to wash their hands in the holy water.  According to the plaque, people have been coming on pilgrimages to the well from Elgin and beyond since the 17th century.  These people would venture by horse or by foot just to drink or wash their hands in the water.  They would also leave gifts for the spirit of the well, such as coins, buttons, pebbles or pieces of silk to ensure the potency of the power.

Standing proud by the harbour is the Hopeman Harbour Crane. Built in 1859 by Bowser and Cameron of Glasgow for the Clyde Navigation Trust, the cast and wrought iron crane cost around £102.50 in today’s money.  It most likely started its working life at one of the Clyde ports, preparing cargo for shipment to the Western Isles or Worldwide.

The Hopeman Harbour Crane stands proudly on the shore

It is believed that it was then bought by Wick Harbour Trust around 1880 to be used during the huge seasonal herring fishing.  Finally, it was taken to Hopeman in 1925 by a local engineer working in the village and remained operational until the 1970s. In 2012 it was refurbished to become the vibrant stand out piece of history that it is today.

The beautiful village is definitely a must visit during the summer. It has a rich history, beautiful scenery and fantastic wildlife.  All of this scenery, wildlife and history can be found at just a 15 minute drive from Carden Cottages.

Delicious lunch at The Peppermill, Forres

Last week for a Friday treat I decided to pay a visit to another of my favourite Forres spots, The Peppermill.

The Peppermill Forres from High Street
The Peppermill in Forres is a popular café and restaurant, serving delicious food | Credit: The Peppermill

I was on Forres High Street when I decided to nip in for a spot of light lunch.  I was seated straight away by the window, which gave me a great view of all the goings on of the High Street.

There were lots of excellent choices on the lunch menu – from soup to battered Buckie haddock.  I opted for the Cajun chicken and mayonnaise baguette with a side of lovely homemade chips.

The service was speedy and before I knew it I had a beautifully delicious baguette in front of me.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that the baguette was much bigger than I expected.  The chicken was perfectly cooked, the sauce was deliciously creamy, and the bread was just the right balance between soft in the middle and crisp on the outside.

Chicken tikka and mayonnaise baguette from The Peppermill Forres
My chicken tikka and mayonnaise baguette with salad and homemade chips made for a delicious lunch

Although I love my coffee, Friday was a nice warm day and I fancied something refreshing to drink.  I asked for an orange Fanta, however this is something they don’t serve at the Peppermill.  The lovely waitress offered to make me up some orange juice with lemonade which I gladly accepted.  Her kindness and helpfulness made the whole experience that bit better.

In a very out of character move I didn’t have any cake to finish off my lunch at The Peppermill – but the restaurant does offer delightful home bakes such as caramel slices, scones and tiffin.

The café and restaurant has a great cosy feel and the amount of people coming in and even ordering food to go showed just how popular it is.  I would recommend reserving a table at The Peppermill when you decide to pay it a visit as it does get very busy.

The scrumptious generous portions of food also come at great value for money.  It cost me just around £8 for my huge baguette, large portion of hand cut chips, salad and large drink.

For more information on The Peppermill, check out there Facebook page where they post pictures of their delicious food and baked goods.

The Peppermill can be found on Forres High Street, a short 15 minute drive from Carden Cottages.