Circular Heritage Walk
The following route will take you on a circular walk of about two miles. The stops are presented in roughly chronological order from the first recorded settlement to the site of a World War II disaster.
The paths are all flat, mostly pavements, suitable for buggies and wheelchairs. The latter section involves a steady ascent uphill, then a steeper walk down, involving steps (or a longer route avoiding the steps).
Park at the East Beach car park.
The official name for this is Gregory Place Car Park, but everyone knows it as the East Beach Car Park. Parking is free.
If arriving by bus, get off by the Police Station/Lossiemouth House B&B.
The Mercat Cross
Standing with your back to the sea, ahead of you is an open square with the Mercat Cross at its centre. No longer a cross, the top has been lost, but for centuries this was an important meeting point. The heritage association have erected a small information plaque here.
Turn back to the sea and cross the canal (heading away from the town), towards the 50 small fisherman’s cottages that make up Seatown. Take a wander through this area and imagine how life must have been for the fisherfolk of 300 years ago.
The iconic wooden bridge across the River Lossie was first erected in 1913 and spanned from the Esplanade (near the ice cream shops) directly to the beach. Due to an increase of fishing boats arriving at Lossiemouth the bridge was deemed too low and had to be pulled down in 1915 to provide unrestricted access to Seatown harbour.
The current bridge was rebuilt in 1918 further upstream at its current position.
In 2019, after years of neglect, even as the community desperately tried to save it, the bridge was condemned as unsafe and forced to close.
There are plans underway to build a new crossing, from the original location on the esplanade and the old bridge will be removed https://www.lossietrust.org/east-bridge-beach/.
Return to the town and walk along the seafront.
Immediately behind the shops and cafes are the remains of an old quarry (the end of Quarry Road nearest Station Park) in which some of Britain’s oldest dinosaur fossils were found. Elgin Museum has an excellent display about these and other local geology finds. https://elginmuseum.org.uk/
(A more recent piece of history, look out for the golden post box in the wall of the dentists, painted to commemorate the success of rower, Heather Stanning, in the London Olympics in 2012.)
Further along, the war memorial is thought to be close to the original site of the cave which was home to the hermit, Gervadius. Later beatified as St Gerardine, he would walk around the headland with a flaming torch to warn ships away from the dangerous rocks.
At the far end of the Esplanade is a blue painted wall. This was the original entry to the harbour.
The Morayshire Railway connecting Lossiemouth to Elgin was opened in 1852. The steam engines had to be delivered by sea!
The railway was very important to the economy of Lossiemouth, exporting fish to market, and bringing wealthy holiday makers to ‘The Riviera of the North’.
The line was eventually closed in 1964 as part of the Beeching cuts. There’s a very pleasant walk along sections of the old railway line through fields and woodland towards Spynie Palace (the section closest to Elgin is overgrown but can be continued on public roads).
Station Park now stands on the site of the old railway terminal and incorporates many of the original features and sleepers. There is a play park and bandstand, as well as a viewpoint with information board overlooking the East Beach.
There are also public toilets here.
Lossiemouth Fisheries and Community Museum
This fascinating museum is well worth a visit. Staffed by volunteers, opening times vary.
Now rebranded as ‘Lossiemouth Marina’ and home to glossy yachts, there are only a handful of fishing boats working out of Lossiemouth, mostly creel boats bringing in shellfish for the domestic market.
In its heyday, you could walk from dock to dock across the decks of the fishing boats tightly packed into the harbour, with their bountiful hauls of herring.
Head inland and up King Street or Kinnedar Street to James Square. This pretty square was created in the 1830s on land originally owned by Lt Col James Brander, Laird of Pitgaveny.
Nearly 100 years ago, the then Laird, Capt James Brander Dunbar, sent his ploughman and horse to plough up the square, claiming that the land belonged to him.
Thankfully the dispute was resolved amicably and the plough that was used is now a feature in the square.
The Lossiemouth Heritage Association has erected information boards in the square telling this story and more.
Prospect Terrace and the Ramsay MacDonald Viewpoint
A little way along Prospect Terrace, on your right, is St James Church with its beautiful stained glass window.
Prospect Terrace surely has one of the finest views in Scotland! There are many grand houses built along this stretch of road, many were originally second homes for rich traders who would travel up from London.
One person who was not allowed to build a house here was Lossiemouth’s most famous son, and Britain’s first Labour Prime Minster, Ramsay MacDonald (apparently being told ‘Red b*stards don’t build up here’).
There is however, now a viewpoint bearing his name on Prospect Terrace with information boards.
Ramsay MacDonald was born in Lossiemouth in 1866, and rose to become Britain’s first Labour Prime Minister in 1924. In total he was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in three Governments between 1924 and 1935.
There is a brochure with more information about Ramsay MacDonald that you can download here: https://www.electricscotland.com/lossiemouth/ramsay.htm
Ramsay MacDonald’s House.
Descend the steps in front of you, and make your way across to 17, Moray Street, which is where he built his family home, The Hillocks.
Granddaughter, Iona Keilhorn, now lives in the house. Mrs Keilhorn is a member of the Lossiemouth Heritage Association and sometimes opens the house to visitors. There is a small plaque on the wall, erected by the LHA to mark the significance.
Back to Mercat Cross
Complete your tour by going to the bottom of the street and following the road round, back to the Mercat Cross.
On the west side of the square stands a small plaque commemorating the eight civilians and three RAF aircrew who lost their lives when a Wellington aircraft crashed into a house shortly after take off on 24 May 1945. Local historian Donnie Stewart tells the story of the crash in this video.
On the east, a small unassuming house next to the lane is where Ramsay MacDonald was born.
directory of services
Follow the link below to find a full listing of all LBA member businesses across every sector.
In time, this will be expanded to include a brief listing of non-member businesses to provide a complete information resource for our visitors.
If the service that you require is not listed in this directory, use your preferred search engine to find them.
Lossiemouth is on the Moray coast, approximately 40 miles east of Inverness and 70 miles northwest of Aberdeen. The A96 is the main road between these two cities.
Travelling by bus or train, head to Elgin for a connecting bus service to Lossiemouth.