The Settlements of the Beauly-Wick Coast and the Historiography of the Moray Firth

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Narrow strips of sea do not always function as ‘chokepoints’ for the communities that live around them. This article interrogates the
historiography of the ‘corridors’ of the Moray Firth region, taken here to be inclusive of the Dornoch Firth, the Cromarty Firth and the inner Moray Firth, and incorporating the Inverness, Kessock and Beauly Firths. Although public and private bodies use the term ‘Moray Firth’ frequently, with few exceptions historians have refrained from doing so. The settlements of the northerly part of the coast, in particular, have been poorly represented in the region’s historiography, and interrogated in the first section of the article. Social and cultural interactions across the firth are explored, drawing specifically on the history of seven settlements around the Beauly-Wick edge: Pictish Portmahomack, Norse Dingwall, the medieval burgh and pilgrimage site of Tain, early modern
Dornoch, nineteenth-century Wick and the modern industrial centres of Invergordon and Nigg. These communities interacted with others situated on the coast to the south. The article concludes by proposing several new questions and approaches for future historical writing on the
Moray Firth.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-163
Number of pages24
JournalThe Scottish Historical Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016


  • 28ref2021


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