The harbour is built where the small fishing village was tucked under Downie Point. At the other end of Stonehaven Bay lies the separate little village of Cowie. These were separate until 1781 when the first bridge was built across the river Carron, the new town filled the divide and Stonehaven became as it is today.
All year round, the castle at Dunnottar is spectacular with its sheer cliffs rising straight from the sea, and leaving only the one rocky path which made it easily defended (for the last 1500 years.) It is more welcoming now!
Stonehaven has survived some tough times. It was razed to the ground in 1644, 1651, 1657 and 1746. It had became the County Town of Kincardine in 1600, and is still an important Sheriff Court for and Gateway to Royal Deeside.
The fishing industry has come and gone. In the early 1900s there were 2.5 million barrels of herring cured here each year. Fish was landed by 50 French boats in 1862. Many others from the Firth of Forth, and England , and a dozen or so local boats landed their catches in the town. But as the ships grew in size, they stayed at sea longer and took their catches home.
The harbour is still a safe refuge for pleasure craft. Tourism is the major local industry with a roof now mooted for the open air pool. Times change. Nostalgia isn't what it used to be. For the last hundred years or so, the local tradition has been to swing fireballs - combustible materials encased in wire netting and held on a wire rope. As the New Year the swingers set off from the Mercat Cross in the old town to ward off the evil sprits for another year.←Back