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.

A historic day out at Elgin Cathedral

I recently revisited the beautiful Elgin Cathedral, also known as the Lantern of the North, taking in all it has to offer; the ruins, its two towers, the Chapter House and the beautiful views that surround the historic site.

Elgin cathedral West front from inside cathedral
The West front of Elgin Cathedral remains intact today, despite its rich history

The Cathedral has been part of Elgin’s history for decades, with its creation spanning back to 1224, when it was established as the principal church of the bishops of Moray.

With one trip to Elgin’s majestic ruin you can learn all about its rich and exciting history.  For example, it was left badly fire damaged from 1390 following an attack by King Robert III’s brother Alexander Stewart, Earl of Buchan, the infamous “Wolf of Badenoch”.  Despite this attack, the two towers of the West Front and the Chapter House remain intact to this day, and are open to the public.

19th century depiction of buning of elgin cathedral
19th Century depiction of Elgin Cathedral blaze, caused by the infamous Wolf of Badenoch

If the history of the site does not appeal to you, then the views will certainly make up for it.  You are rewarded for your climbing efforts with magnificent views over Elgin, with the top of the tower having an open viewing platform, as well as information boards to help you learn more about all of the fantastic landmarks that you can see.

When you tire of looking over the town’s glorious sites, you can head into the chapter house, which is considered to be one of the country’s “finest octagonal structures” – and it is easy to see why.  If you look close enough at the ceiling, you might just be able to make out faint traces of gold paint.

The Cathedral also offers guided tours; run daily from July through to August at: 10am, 2pm and 3:30pm, the latter tour being for the Bishop’s house only, and must be booked in advance.  If you’d like more information on the tours you can visit: https://www.historicenvironment.scot/visit-a-place/places/elgin-cathedral/  or call 01343 547 171.

I would also recommend the fact-finding quiz, created by historic environment Scotland, which also comes in Doric, to make your adventure more fun.  You could also try their sculptures and symbols spotter and graveyard count quizzes.

Bishop's house at Elgin Cathedral
You can book a guided tour of the historic Bishop’s House at Elgin Cahedral During the Summer | Credit: Colin Smith

The Cathedral is only a 15 minute drive from your cottage at Carden.  If you look carefully, as you drive into Elgin from Carden Cottages, opposite Dr. Gray’s hospital you will be able to see blocks that were taken from the Cathedral and used in the building of the garden walls and houses there.  So you don’t have to wait until you get there to start taking in the culture.

When you tire from soaking up all the history, there are plenty surrounding coffee shops with great hot drinks and tasty cake to help aid your recovery, like Johnston’s of Elgin, which is about a 10 minute walk away.