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Burghead Travel Guide - Scotland

An isolated but bold Scottish village.

Burghead in Scotland is way, way up north, almost in a different land, with a different culture and a real Highland feel to it. Nestling on a peninsula that juts into the Moray Firth, Burghead is in the Scottish county of Moray and it stands proudly defiant, despite the in climate temperature it often experiences. With less than 2000 people living there, it is more of a village than a town, and it has a history dating back as far as Pictish times. Add to this the fact that Romans lived here in AD 86 and you can see the history that is present here.

Due to the fact that it is so far north, it is a dream to experience Burghead in both summer and winter, but for very different reasons. In summer the nights are long and the sunshine bright, with a quality that is rarely experienced in the rest of the UK.

In winter, storms and strong winds may ravage the town, but at night, if the clouds permit, just outside of the town, you can get some stunning views of stars, the Milky Way and of course the moon.

One of the most unique things that you can see at Burghead happens in January each year, when there is a fire festival that dates back to the end of the 17th Century, which is a real tradition and although it is said to date back earlier than this and have its roots in "heathen customs" it is still celebrated today.

Welcome to Burghead There is also an interesting "well" in Burghead – known simply as the Burghead "well" – which is unlike a normal well sunk into the ground. This is a chambered well which is accessed by a set of steps that take you down underground to the well itself. It's a must see if you are visiting the area, but be prepared for a mystery as no one knows its exact purpose or age, so anyone who likes a puzzle will love the Burghead well.

But it's the area around Burghead that is perhaps the reason that many people visit the area. The scenery of the Moray Firth, with its strong currents and very wild, rugged coastline is simply stunning. If you like dramatic coastline, then this is an area that you will love. You can see the sea angry and unleashing its power and showing humans that we have not yet mastered the seas. If you are passionate about photography then you will love the area as it will faithfully provide you with some stunning scenery whenever you visit.

Burning of the Clavie, takes place in Burghead at Hogmanay Nearby Attractions

Elgin is the nearest "big town" that also has a lot to offer visitors and if you come to Burghead, try to allow enough time to squeeze in a trip to Elgin. Here you can see the fantastic ruins of a cathedral dating back to the 13th Century.

Duffus Castle is also nearby – just a few miles from Elgin itself – and is merely a shadow of the impressive fortress it used to be, but it is still worth a visit and you will get a stunning view of the remains as you cross the causeway to where it stands.

Throughout the area, you will see some crofts (a croft being a very small farm) that for a long time were the staples of the local economy, but then became economically unpractical and the locals were either driven out to accommodate sheep farming or simply had to leave in order to make a living. Somehow the ruined crofts act as a poignant reminder of a life differently led and they are almost everywhere throughout the area.

You can also visit the village of Hopeman while you are in the area, which has two beaches and offers a number of tranquil walks along the shore. And if you are passionate about fishing, why not try and catch some trout while you are there? The harbour is also well worth exploring, while the village itself has a very special air, as if it has tapped into some kind of knowledge that urbanites have long since forgotten!