Download GPX file for this article
57.7189-03.2875Full screen dynamic map

From Wikivoyage
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Lossiemouth is a village on the coast of Moray in North East Scotland, with a population in 2016 of 7870. It developed as a fishing port in the 18th and 19th centuries, but the harbour is small and that industry has gone. Its main business now is as a service town for RAF Lossiemouth, the base for Britain's Quick Reaction Alert Interceptors.

So this unassuming little place now stands on the frontline of NATO's air defences. Russian bomber planes, some of them supersonic, regularly hurtle across the Norwegian and North Seas towards the UK. They are intercepted while still in international air space by Typhoon FGR4 fighters from RAF Lossiemouth. Everyone shows off their prowess and alertness, exchanges pleasantries and goes home safe. And yet another gambit has been played out across the great chessboard that stretches over quiet fields and icy seas and forests and onion domes.

Get in[edit]

"Greetings, Ivan - now scram!" An RAF Typhoon intercepts a Russian Tu-95

Elgin is the nearest railway station, with trains every couple of hours between Aberdeen and Inverness.

Stagecoach Bus 33 runs from Elgin to Lossiemouth, taking 20 min direct (anti-clockwise 33A) or 40 min via the RAF base (clockwise 33C). The direct route is along A941 which becomes Clifton Rd to the harbour, across town on Queen St then Stotfield Rd, then south on B9135 past the RAF base, rejoining A941 back to Elgin. Buses are every 30 min M-Sa and hourly on Sunday.

By road follow A96 to Elgin then A941 north.

Get around[edit]

It's easy to walk around town, but its delights won't take you that long, so you need wheels to explore the area. A bike would do.

Bus 32 runs hourly M-Sa from Elgin to Duffus, Hopeman and Burghead, but there's no service from Lossiemouth.

See[edit]

  • 1 Lossiemouth Fisheries and Community Museum, Pitgaveny St IV31 6NT, +44 1343 813772. Apr-Oct M-Sa 10:30-16:00. Volunteer-run museum of village history. Adult £1.50, child or conc £1.
  • James Ramsay Macdonald (1866-1937) was Britain's first Labour Prime Minister, in office in 1924 then 1929-1934. He was born at Gregory Place: look for the little row of cottages at the foot of Macduff St, facing the park, and there's an indistinct plaque by the door. He was illegitimate, Macdonald was his father and Ramsay his mother. He moved away to Bristol then London, and along with Keir Hardie and Arthur Henderson founded the Labour Party in 1900. He was first elected MP for Leicester in 1906, and now comfortably off, he had a house built in Lossiemouth for his mother. His second spell of government was blighted by the Depression. From 1931 he was figurehead leader of the National Government, a coalition dominated by the Conservatives. Reviled as a traitor to Labour, his health failed and he left politics, embarked on an ocean cruise but died on the trip. His body was returned for funeral at Westminster Abbey.
  • 2 Hillocks is the house that Ramsay Macdonald had built in 1908 for his mother. She died shortly after moving in but he kept the house as a base for himself and family in Scotland. It's at 17 Moray St, a couple of short blocks inland from his birthplace. Both buildings are private residences, no tours.
  • 3 Duffus Castle is a ruin off B9017 to the southwest. A wooden motte-and-bailey was built in 1140, wrecked around 1300, then replaced by a stone castle in the 14th century. That in turn was abandoned in 1705. It's free to access anytime.
  • 4 St Peter's Kirk near Duffus is the ruin of a 12th century church, with its original mercat cross. It's free to explore daily Apr-Oct 09:30-17:30, Nov-Mar 10:00-16:00. You may need to collect the gate key from the Old Manse.
  • 5 Gordonstoun is the famous Public School secluded in woodland near Duffus, so you can only see it on special occasions like an Open Day, with a prospective entrant in tow. The school nowadays has some 500 boarders and 100 day-pupils; those who've sent their sprogs here include Sean Connery, David Bowie, and the Duke of Edinburgh. Charles III (then Prince of Wales) detested it as "Colditz with kilts" and his escape attempt in Stornoway ended badly; naturally Ofsted rated it "outstanding".
  • 6 Hopeman is a small port laid out in the 19th century to export stone from the local quarries. It has sandy beaches.
  • 7 Burghead is a small coastal town built on a grid pattern 1805-09, sweeping away the remains of its Pictish fort. However an ancient well discovered during that work was preserved: steps lead down into a chamber fed by underground springs. The visitor centre displays Pictish artefacts and may allow access to the well.

Do[edit]

Ramsay MacDonald was twice Prime Minister
"After Sermon the Session Assembling &c. The said day the fishers of Stotefold & Cousea being remitted from the Presbetry to this Church discipline for satisfaction of their great & gross scandall & Idolatrous custome in burning torches on new years even" - Kirk Session of 1760
  • Outfit Moray is an outdoor activity organiser and sports shop on Shore St, open M-F 09:00-17:00. They hire bikes.
  • Lossiemouth Sports and Community Centre is within the High School on Coulhardbank Rd. The swimming pool is open M-F 09:00-21:00, Sa Su 10:00-13:30.
  • East Beach is the better side of town for strolling. It's a long sandy spit reached by footbridge across the River Lossie from Church St. Spynie Canal joins the river here: completed in 1811, it's just a drainage channel and was never navigable.
  • New Wave Surf School is based on Church St near the footbridge.
  • Railway path follows the former branch railway from Elgin, closed in 1966. It starts by Church St and heads south with a good surface for 3 miles to Spynie Palace (see Elgin). It then becomes Maryfield farm track, and a morass in wet weather - you can turn off onto a paved lane to continue south.
  • Watch football: Lossiemouth FC play soccer in the Highland League, the game's fifth tier in Scotland. Their home ground is Grant Park, capacity 3250, south side of town.
  • Moray Golf Club, Stotfield Road IV31 6QS, +44 1343 812018. This starts from the B&B strip on Stotfield Rd and extends west along the coast. The Old Course designed by Tom Morris is 6572 yards, par 71; the new course by Sir Henry Cotton is 6068 yards, par 70. A visitor round on Old Course is £95 Apr-Oct, £20 Nov-March. Moray Golf Club (Q6909442) on Wikidata Moray Golf Club on Wikipedia
  • Other golf courses are Covesea Links (9 holes) and Hopeman GC, with several more around Elgin.

Buy[edit]

Moray Golf Course
  • Co-op Food is at 44 Queen St, open daily 07:00-23:00. There's a larger one south side of town on Couldardbank Rd.

Eat[edit]

  • Queen St is the main strip, with Shah Curry House, Lossie Restaurant (Indian), and a clutch of takeaways.
  • Macintosh Restaurant is within Golf View Hotel, see Sleep.

Drink[edit]

  • Town pubs include The Steamboat and Brander Arms.
  • Brewery: Windswept Brewing are on the industrial estate off Coulardbank Rd, tours available.
  • No distilleries in Lossiemouth, but several nearby around Elgin, and the classic Spey Valley whisky country starts to the south.

Sleep[edit]

Lossiemouth House is now a B&B
  • Golf View Hotel (formerly Skerry Brae), Stotfield Road IV31 6QS, +44 1343 812040. Pleasant place overlooking the golf course and sea shore. With Macintosh Restaurant. Double (room only) £65.
  • Poseidon Inn next door is also run by Golf View Hotel.
  • Links Lodge on Stotfield Road has B&B and a self-catering apartment.
  • Stotfield Hotel further down the street is needing refurbishment.
  • Lossiemouth House, 33 Clifton Rd IV31 6DP, +44 1343 813397. Substantial house by the estuary built in 1779, within a walled garden; five rooms en suite. B&B double £90.
  • Silver Sands a mile west of town is mostly about budget family package holidays, but individual campers and tourers are also welcome. It's open Apr-Oct. Lossiemouth Caravan Park in town only has owner-occupied static units.

Connect[edit]

As of Sept 2021, Lossiemouth has 4G from EE and Three, but you'll struggle to get a signal from O2 or Vodafone. 5G has not reached this area.

Go next[edit]

  • Elgin has a famous ruined cathedral.
  • Forres has distilleries and the plush Brodie Castle.



This city travel guide to Lossiemouth is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.