The Salmon House was purpose built in 1834 by the Seafield Estate, which then owned the salmon fishing rights along the coast. The three story building provided an office, a bothy, an ice house, a fish preparation area, workshop and storage accommodation.
The stake-net salmon fishing began at a Station near to the mouth of the Burn of the Boyne as early as 1828. Bag-net fishing was also carried out. Abundant supplies of ice were obtained originally from Loch Soy and the Millpond and brought in by horse and cart.
The Salmon House continued in use until 1990, when salmon netting was stopped at the Portsoy Station. Salmon fishing therefore played a major part in the history of fishing in our area. (Extracts from Findlay Pirie’s “History of Salmon Fishing”)
The Salmon Bothy was left unused until it was taken over by Portsoy Community Enterprise in 2006. Just over £400,000 was raised for its restoration and it was opened to the public in 2008. It now comprises a community venue and a museum housed in what were the ice chambers, where displays, artifacts and information about Portsoy’s harbours, the industry and trade and the Salmon Fishing operations can be found.
The ‘Bothy’ or sleeping quarters remains as it was complete with bunk beds, the sizes of which astound most visitors who see them! This area is now used as a base for Family History Research, with two computers and a growing bank of books and resources which are available to browse or borrow on request.
The upstairs netting loft is now a fully functional community space and venue used by many clubs and societies on a regular basis and providing the perfect backdrop for cosy folk music evenings, musical recitals and small theatre groups. It is available for hire at very reasonable rates for many types of events and gatherings.