The Salmon Bothy Museum is housed in what were the ground floor ice house chambers used in the salmon fishing operation. Our strategy has been to create a museum and exhibition space that everyone can enjoy and explore.
- Chamber 1 - Portsoy Harbour, the Salmon House in operation, weighing, tying, boiling and packing. There is a fantastic display of orignial tools and interactive displays for you to to try your hand at knot tying or using the pulley system. You will see a fantastic collection of original boat building tools and a display of seafaring knots, where you can try your hand at securing various items using this once essential skill. Also available for visitors to try out, are a selection of block and tackles which would have been seen on all sailing vessels, used for every heavy lifting job from hoisting sails to hauling aboard gleaming shoals of the silver darlings.
- Chamber Two demonstrates the busy industries once established in Portsoy, from the quarrying of Portsoy marble to the making of buoys for the fishing industry and from lime kilns to railways, not forgetting the lively smuggling activities which were once rife in this area! Here, an original clinker built pilot boat, complete with splendid sail, is an example of the kind of vessel which once sailed from the two harbours, while Jeannie, the star of the new exhibition looks on.
Jeannie, the lifelike and authentically dressed fisher lass, is the creation of Bothy volunteer, Jack Elliott. Accompanied by her kist full of her personal possessions, she would have been one of the thousands of gutting quines from all around Scotland who, in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, followed the migrating herring from Shetland down to Yarmouth each year. Hers is certainly a story worthy of discovery.
- Chamber 3 Since this building was a salmon ice house, it is important that the salmon fishing industry is well represented in the museum. This section illustrates the life history of the salmon, once so vital to the Scottish economy and demonstrates the development of commercial salmon fishing, which flourished in Portsoy until the closure of the fishery in 1990. A large variety of salmon fishing artefacts are on display here, which visitors are welcome to pick up and try for themselves.
New to this chamber, is a display of boats built and sailed by local youngsters in a series of extremely successful and innovative projects undertaken by PORT, the boatbuilding wing of the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival. These include an Optimist dinghy, eighteen of which were built by primary school children from eight local Primary Schools, and the lovely Faering 'Oor Boatie', completed by an enthusiastic team of Banff Academy pupils.
We are constantly looking for more information about Portsoy and area, the people and industries that made up its history, and wherever possible, examples of the artefacts that shaped that history.
If you have information or items that you might be prepared to let us see or have, please contact us. However, we must point out that our space is limited and we are anxious not to simply store items that may never see the light of day.